Chief Minister


    In News

    • Recently, Nitish Kumar has taken oath as Bihar’s Chief Minister for a record eighth time.

    Office of Chief Minister

    • About:
      • In the scheme of the Parliamentary system of government provided by the Constitution, the Governor is the nominal executive authority (de jure executive) and the Chief Minister is the real executive authority (de facto executive). 
      • In other words, the Governor is the head of the state while the Chief Minister is the head of the government.
    • Appointment:
      • Constitutional provision:
        • Article 164 only says that the Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor. 
        • However, this does not imply that the Governor is free to appoint anyone as the Chief Minister. 
      • Convention:
        • In accordance with the convections of the Parliamentary system of government, the Governor has to appoint the leader of the majority party in the state legislative assembly as the Chief Minister. 
        • Vote of confidence:
          • But, when no party has a clear majority in the assembly, then the Governor may exercise his personal discretion in the selection and appointment of the Chief Minister. 
          • In such a situation, the Governor usually appoints the leader of the largest party or coalition in the assembly as the Chief Minister and asks him to seek a vote of confidence in the House within a month. 
      • CM as member of the state legislature:
        • A person who is not a member of the state legislature can be appointed as Chief Minister for six months, within which time, he should be elected to the state legislature, failing which he ceases to be the Chief Minister.
        • According to the Constitution, the Chief Minister may be a member of any of the two Houses of a state legislature. 
        • Usually, Chief Ministers have been selected from the Lower House (Legislative assembly), but, on a number of occasions, a member of the Upper House (Legislative council) has also been appointed as Chief Minister.
    • Term:
      • CM and other Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor.
      • CM cannot be dismissed by the governor as long as he enjoys the majority support in the legislative assembly.
      • The State Legislative Assembly can also remove him by passing a vote of no-confidence against him.
    • Power and Functions:
      • Council of ministers: 
        • The Chief Minister is the head of the Council of Ministers of his State. The constitutional position of the Chief Minister is more or less similar to that of the Prime Minister. 
        • The Chief Minister plays an important role in the administration of the State. The major functions include:
          • The Governor allocates portfolios to the ministers on the advice of the Chief Minister.
          • The Chief Minister presides over the Cabinet meetings. He/she coordinates the functioning of different ministries. 
          • He/she guides the functioning of the Cabinet.
          • Under Article 167, the Chief Minister is the sole link of communication between the Cabinet and the Governor. 
          • The Governor has the right to be informed by the Chief Minister about the decisions taken by the Council of Ministers.
          • The Constitution provides that the Chief Minister shall communicate to the Governor all decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to the administration and the affairs of the State and proposals for legislation.
          • If the Governor so requires, the Chief Minister submits for consideration of the Council of Ministers any matter on which a decision has been taken by a minister but which has not been considered by the Cabinet.
      • Legislative powers:
        • The Chief Minister plays a key role in framing the laws and policies of the State Government. 
        • Bills are introduced by the ministers in the State legislature with his/her approval. 
        • He/she is the chief spokesman of the policies of his government both inside and outside the State Legislature.
        • The Chief Minister furnishes such information relating to the administration of the affairs of the State and proposals for legislation as the Governor may call for.
      • Zonal Council:
        • The Chief Ministers of the States included in each zone act as Vice-Chairman of the Zonal Council for that zone by rotation, each holding office for a period of one year at a time.

    Source: HT