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Strength of M.P. Ministry exceeds Constitutional limit

Topics Covered: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

Strength of M.P. Ministry exceeds Constitutional limit

Context:

Congress is planning to move the court as the strength of the Council of Ministers in Madhya Pradesh reportedly exceeds the prescribed limit.

Background:

Recently, 20 Cabinet Ministers and eight Ministers of State were included in the Council of Ministers, expanding it to 34.

This is more than 15% of the effective strength of the legislators at 206. The strength of the Council of Ministers shouldn’t have exceeded 30.

  • The Assembly strength of 228 dropped in March when 22 rebel Congress MLAs resigned and later switched over to the BJP. Two seats fell vacant earlier owing to deaths.

What the Constitution says?

Article 164 (1A) of the Constitution prescribed that the total number of Ministers, including the Chief Minister, in the Council of Ministers in a State shall not exceed 15% of the total number of members of the Legislative Assembly of that State.

  • This provision was introduced through the 91st Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2003.

Exceptions: Provided that the number of Ministers, including the Chief Minister in a State shall not be less than twelve.

Article 163: Council of Ministers to aid and advise Governor:

  1. There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions, except in so far as he is by or under this Constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion.
  2. If any question arises whether any matter is or is not a matter as respects which the Governor is by or under this Constitution required to act in his discretion, the decision of the Governor in his discretion shall be final, and the validity of anything done by the Governor shall not be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion.
  3. The question whether any, and if so what, advice was tendered by Ministers to the Governor shall not be inquired into in any court.

 Article 164 (2) provides that the Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the State Legislative Assembly.

Article 164 (4) provides that a person can remain as Minister without being a member of the state legislature for a period of six consecutive months.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Articles 163 and 164 are related to?
  2. What is collective responsibility?
  3. Who appoints CM and CoM?
  4. Who distributes portfolios among ministers.
  5. 91st Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2003 is related to?

Sources: the Hindu.