Chief Minister
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Chief Minister – Indian Polity Notes

In our Parliamentary form of Government, we have two constituent units: the Union and the States. Our constitution provides for dual executive polity at both levels, wherein the Governor is a nominal head and the Chief Minister along with the state council of ministers acts as the real executive of the State.

Constitutional Position:

The Constitution of India replicates the office of a real executive at the union level i.e. Prime Minister, at the state level as Chief Minister. 

There is little difference in their constitutional position except in their administrative domains. Constitution envisages both offices to act as a real executive at two levels.

Constitutional Provisions:

Article 163Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister to aid and advise the Governor 
Article 164Other provisions for Ministers 
Article 166Conduct of business of the Government of a state.
Article 167Duties of Chief Minister with respect to the Governor 


  • Article 163, provides for the Council of ministers headed by the Chief Minister to aid and advice the Governor.
  • The Chief Minister is appointed by Governor.


  • The Constitution doesn’t provide fixed tenure for the Chief Minister (and his council of ministers). 
  • They serve at the pleasure of the Governor. In practice which means, they serve till the ruling party or coalition has a majority in the state assembly.

Removal Procedure:

  • Due to the principle of collective responsibility provided under Article 164, the entire council of ministers led by the Chief Minister is collectively responsible to the state assembly.
  • They can be removed from office under the following circumstances:
    • When the motion of no confidence against the state council of ministers is passed in the assembly.
    • If the motion of thanks after the speech of the governor is not passed.
    • If the budget is defeated on the floor of the house.
    • If ruling MLAs defect to another party, making the ruling party/coalition – is a minority coalition.
  • The Chief Minister can also resign from office by addressing the resignation to the Governor.
  • The Governor can ask the outgoing Chief Minister to remain as caretaker Chief Minister until the successor assumes office.
  • The resignation of the Chief Minister is considered the resignation of the entire Council of Ministers.

Power & Duties:

With reference to the Governor:

  • It is the duty of the Chief Minister to keep the Governor informed with information about administration & legislative proposals as demanded by the Governor.
  • Chief Minister also keeps the Governor informed about key decisions taken in the council of ministers meetings.
  • The Chief Minister acts as a connecting link between the Governor and the Cabinet. 

With respect to the State Legislature:

  • The Chief Minister is the Leader of the House in the State Legislative Assembly (if he is MLA) or Legislative Council (if the state has a legislative council).
  • CM recommends the Governor summon the sessions of the state legislature.
  • The Chief Minister along with the Council of Ministers decides the legislative agenda i.e. bills to be introduced in the session.
  • As Leader of the House, the Chief Minister can recommend the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly to the Governor.

With reference to the Council of Ministers:

  • Members of the council of ministers are appointed on the recommendation of the Chief Minister. 
  • Chief Minister allocates various portfolios to the ministers. 
  • Ministers are collectively responsible to the State Legislative Assembly and individually responsible to the Chief Minister.
  • They can be removed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister.
  • The Chief Minister chairs meetings of the council of ministers & set the agenda for such meetings. 
  • The Chief Minister guides, and directs all activities of the ministers.
  • Chief Minister along with his council formulates policies on various issues which are under the legislative domain of the state.

Other Powers:

  • Chief Minister has the right to give advice to the Governor in appointments of various officials under state government such as Advocate General, Chairman, and members of SPSC, etc.
  • Chief Ministers are members of the Inter-State Council

Debate Surrounding the Importance of the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO):

  • The office of the Chief Minister is very unique. It is the personification of the entire power of the state.
  • Coalition politics has greatly influenced the CMO. To satisfy the ego, there are two power centers created like the office of the Deputy Chief Minister. 
  • Instead of being individually accountable to the CM, ministers are loyal to their leader who often hold key portfolios like Dy. CM or Home Department.
  • Coalition politics also doesn’t allow the CM to take decisions as per policy formation. Most of the time, decisions favoring one community over other owing to electoral compulsion are taken.
  • Post-election coalitions make shift arrangements as they don’t have ideological similarities. But they come together just to avoid re-election.

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