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Laxmikanth Summary: Chief Minister | Indian Polity for UPSC CSE PDF Download

  • The Governor assumes the role of the nominal executive, embodying the de jure executive authority. In this capacity, the Governor stands as the head of the state. However, it's crucial to recognize that this position primarily holds a symbolic and constitutional significance.Laxmikanth Summary: Chief Minister | Indian Polity for UPSC CSE
  • In stark contrast, the Chief Minister serves as the real executive, holding the de facto executive authority. As the head of the government, the Chief Minister wields actual decision-making power and is actively involved in the day-to-day administration of the state. 
  • Analogy: Governor is the head of the state; Chief Minister is the head of the government.

 Appointment of Chief Minister

  • Appointment Authority: As per Article 164, the governor holds the authority to appoint the Chief Minister.
  • Convention: The customary practice involves the governor appointing the leader of the majority party in the state legislative assembly as the Chief Minister.
  • Discretionary Power: The governor may exercise discretion in situations where no party commands a clear majority.
  • Exceptional Circumstances: In cases of no clear majority, the governor has the option to appoint the leader of the largest party or coalition and subsequently call for a vote of confidence.

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Who holds the de jure executive authority in a state?
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Sarkaria Commission

  • The Sarkaria Commission on Centre-State Relations (1983-88) provided key recommendations for the selection and appointment of a Chief Minister. The guidelines emphasize principles to be followed by the Governor in choosing a Chief Minister, especially in scenarios where a single party doesn't have an absolute majority in the Legislative Assembly. 
  • Governor's Role

    • Choose Chief Minister based on the party or coalition with the broadest support in the Legislative Assembly.
    • Governor ensures government formation without influencing policies.
  • Appointment Criteria

    • If a single party has an absolute majority, its leader automatically becomes Chief Minister.
    • In the absence of a majority:
      • Prefer alliance formed before elections.
      • Largest single party with support.
      • Post-electoral coalition with all partners in government.
      • Post-electoral alliance with some forming the government and others supporting externally.
  • Vote of Confidence

    • Chief Minister, unless leading a majority party, seeks a vote of confidence within 30 days.
  • Resolution of Rival Claims

    • Governor doesn't independently decide rival claims; they are tested on the Legislative Assembly floor.

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According to the Sarkaria Commission, what is the role of the Governor in selecting a Chief Minister in scenarios where a single party doesn't have an absolute majority in the Legislative Assembly?
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Oath, Term, and Salary

  • Oath: Allegiance to the Constitution, upholding sovereignty, and discharging duties faithfully.
  • Term: Holds office at the pleasure of the governor. But the governor cannot dismiss the officeholder as long as they have majority support in the legislative assembly. However, if the individual loses assembly confidence, resignation is mandatory, or the governor can dismiss them.
  • Salary: Determined by state legislature.

Powers and Functions

  • In Relation to Council of Ministers:

    • Ministerial Appointments: The Chief Minister recommends ministers to the governor, reflecting their leadership in the ruling party. 
    • Portfolio Allocation: The Chief Minister reshuffles portfolios, optimizing the government's efficiency.
    • Control Over Resignations: Authority over ministerial resignations or dismissals ensures the Chief Minister's influence.
    • Presiding Over Council Meetings: The Chief Minister chairs meetings, guiding decisions and strategies.
    • Coordination of Ministerial Activities: The Chief Minister guides and coordinates ministerial activities for a cohesive administration.
    • Resignation of Chief Minister dissolves council of ministers.
  • In Relation to Governor:

    • Communication Channel: The Chief Minister acts as the main intermediary between the state government and the governor.
    • Advisory Role in Appointments: The Chief Minister advises the governor on key official appointments, influencing administrative matters.
  • In Relation to State Legislature:

    • Legislative Advice: The Chief Minister advises on legislative sessions and dissolution, ensuring coordination between the executive and legislative branches. 
  • Other Powers and Functions:

    • Chairman of State Planning Board.
    • Vice-chairman of relevant zonal council.
    • Member of Inter-State Council and NITI Aayog.
    • Chief spokesman, crisis manager during emergencies.

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What is the role of the Chief Minister in relation to the state legislature?
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Relationship with Governor (Constitutional Provisions)

  • Chief Minister heads the council of ministers. and the council of ministers is collectively responsible to the legislative assembly.
  • Articles 163, 164, and 167 define the collaborative relationship between the governor and the Chief Minister. 
  • Article 163: Council of Ministers to aid and advise Governor

    • There shall be a council of ministers with the Chief Minister as the head to aid and advise the governor.
    • The Chief Minister is the chairperson of this council.
    • The council aids the governor in the exercise of their functions, except those exercised at their discretion.
  • Article 164:

    • Appointment of Chief Minister:

      • The Chief Minister is appointed by the governor.
      • Other ministers are appointed by the governor on the advice of the Chief Minister.
    • Tenure and Pleasure:

      • Ministers hold office during the pleasure of the governor.
      • The council of ministers is collectively responsible to the legislative assembly of the state.
  • Article 167: Duties of the Chief Minister

    • Communication to the Governor:

      • The Chief Minister has a duty to communicate to the governor all decisions of the council of ministers related to the administration of the state's affairs and proposals for legislation.
    • Furnishing Information:

      • The Chief Minister is required to furnish information related to the administration of state affairs and proposals for legislation when requested by the governor.
    • Submission of Matters:

      • If the governor requires, the Chief Minister must submit for the consideration of the council of ministers any matter on which a decision has been taken by a minister but not yet considered by the council.

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FAQs on Laxmikanth Summary: Chief Minister - Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

1. What is the appointment process for a Chief Minister?
Ans. The Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor of the state. After the state legislative assembly elections, the Governor invites the leader of the party or coalition with a majority to form the government. The leader then becomes the Chief Minister.
2. What is the oath taken by the Chief Minister?
Ans. The Chief Minister takes an oath of office and secrecy. The oath is administered by the Governor or any other person appointed by him/her. The Chief Minister pledges to uphold the constitution and work for the welfare of the people.
3. What is the term of a Chief Minister?
Ans. The term of a Chief Minister is not fixed and depends on the confidence of the legislative assembly. As long as the Chief Minister enjoys the majority support in the assembly, he/she can continue in office. However, the Chief Minister's term usually lasts for five years, which is the duration of the legislative assembly.
4. What is the salary of a Chief Minister?
Ans. The salary of a Chief Minister is determined by the respective state legislature. The salary varies from state to state, and it is generally decided by the Chief Minister's cabinet or the state legislative assembly. It is usually a fixed monthly salary along with certain allowances.
5. What are the powers and functions of a Chief Minister?
Ans. The Chief Minister holds significant powers and functions, including: - Head of the state government: The Chief Minister is the head of the state government and exercises executive powers. - Chief Advisor: The Chief Minister advises the Governor on various matters concerning the state. - Policy-making: The Chief Minister plays a crucial role in policy-making and decision-making processes. - Administration: The Chief Minister oversees the administration of the state and ensures the smooth functioning of various departments. - Legislative role: The Chief Minister leads the legislative agenda of the government and is responsible for introducing and passing bills in the legislature. - Representing the state: The Chief Minister represents the state at various forums and interacts with other state and central government officials.
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