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Structure, functions and differences between Council of Ministers and Cabinet

Council of ministers

  1. The Indian Constitution mentions only the Council of Ministers and not the Cabinet.

  2. The cabinet is a product of the traditions of the parliamentary system. Only cabinet ministers are included in the cabinet, whereas all types of ministers are included in the Council of Ministers.

  3. The Council of Ministers is the real executive of the country, which has executive, legislative, financial etc. powers.

  4. The word cabinet has been used in Article 352 by the 44th Amendment Act.

Formation of council of ministers

  1. Under Article 75, the President first appoints the Prime Minister as the head of the Council of Ministers.

  2. The Prime Minister appoints some people from his party as ministers through the President.

  3. Appointed ministers hold their office during the pleasure of the President.

  4. Collectively the Council of Ministers is answerable to the Lok Sabha.

  5. Any person can remain a minister for a maximum of 6 months without membership of Parliament.

  6. According to the 91st Constitutional Amendment 2003, a member of any House of Parliament, who has been proved ineligible for membership under the Tenth Schedule, will also be considered ineligible to become a minister and he cannot be appointed as a minister unless He should not be re-elected.For the post of Prime Minister, the President compulsorily invites the leader of the majority party. But in some circumstances, the President may get the opportunity to appoint the Prime Minister by using his discretion

  7. When no party has a clear majority in the Lok Sabha.

  8. At a time when there is no definite leader of the majority party or there are two influential contenders for the post of Prime Minister.

  9. In case of national emergency, the President can dissolve the Lok Sabha and nominate the leader of a voluntary temporary government.

Composition of the Council of Ministers


  1. There are three categories of ministers in the Council of Ministers – Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers.

  2. There is a difference between these ministers on the basis of their rank, salary and political importance.

  3. Cabinet Ministers have the surveyors of important ministries of the Central Government like Home, Defence, Finance Legislation and take departmental decisions themselves.

  4. Ministers of State may be given independent charge of ministry departments or may be made associates with a Cabinet Minister.

  5. As a form of cooperation, they can be given the responsibility of the departments of the cabinet minister's ministry or can be assigned any special work related to the ministry.

  6. Even in case of independent charge, he carries out the work of his ministry with the same power and independence as a cabinet minister.

  7. Although they are not members of the Cabinet and do not participate in its meetings unless they are specifically invited for some work related to their ministry.

  8. Deputy Ministers are appointed to assist the Cabinet or Ministers of State in their administrative, political and parliamentary work.

  9. Another category of ministers, called Parliamentary Secretaries, do not have any department and are appointed to assist senior ministers in their parliamentary work.

Powers and functions of the Council of Ministers

The functions and powers of the Council of Ministers are as follows –


  1. The Council of Ministers is the maker of national policies.

  2. The Council of Ministers carries out the governance of the entire country.

  3. The Council of Ministers regulates the wealth of the entire nation.

  4. Enforcing law and maintaining order.

  5. The Council of Ministers also performs many legislative related functions –

  6. Preparing the bill and presenting it in the Parliament.

  7. Answer the questions of Members of Parliament.

  8. The Council of Ministers issues ordinances in the name of the President.

  9. To appoint high government officials of the country.

  10. To formulate and implement foreign policy.

  11. The President declares national emergency only after the written consultation of the cabinet after the 44th Amendment Act.

Difference between Council of Ministers and Cabinet


  1. Only cabinet level ministers are included in the cabinet. Its size is small and its structure is made from the point of view of convenience. It has been given constitutional recognition by the 44th Amendment Act Article 352 3. The size of the Council of Ministers is quite large. It includes cabinet ministers and ministers of state. And Parliamentary Secretary is involved, it is a constitutional institution.

  2. The Cabinet consists of ministers of major departments of the government, whereas in the Council of Ministers, every member of the Cabinet is a member of the Council of Ministers.

  3. Due to the small size of the Cabinet, more meetings are organised. Due to the large size of the Council of Ministers, its meetings are possible only occasionally.

  4. The cabinet along with the Prime Minister determines and directs the national policy, the work related to policy-making is not done by the Council of Ministers.

  5. The work of consulting the President is done by the Council of Ministers whereas according to Article 78 (c) the President can seek advice from the Council of Ministers but in practice this work is not done by it.

Prime Minister of India

  1. Theoretically all the executive power is vested in the President whereas in reality the real power of the executive is vested in the Council of Ministers including the Prime Minister.

  2. According to Article 74 of the Constitution, there will be a Council of Ministers to assist and advise the President in the exercise of his powers, whose head will be the Prime Minister.

  3. But by the 44th Amendment Act, it was arranged that the President can send back the advice given by the Council of Ministers for reconsideration, but even after such reconsideration, the President is bound to accept the advice given.

Appointment of prime minister

The President will appoint the Prime Minister according to the Constitution.

Article 75: In the case of a hung Lok Sabha, the President appoints the leader of the largest party or coalition as the Prime Minister.

For example, in 1998, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was appointed the Prime Minister in the 12th Lok Sabha.

Prime Minister's Qualifications

The qualification for the post of Prime Minister is not described in the constitution because it is mandatory for the Prime Minister to be a member of the Parliament, therefore it is necessary to have those qualifications which are there in the Member of Parliament, in addition to this, he should be the leader of the majority party in the House.

Prime Minister's term or period

  1. The tenure of the Prime Minister is 5 years but his tenure is dependent on the support of the majority of the Lok Sabha.

  2. The Prime Minister has to resign after losing the majority in the Lok Sabha and passing the motion of no confidence.

  3. The resignation of the Prime Minister is considered the resignation of the entire Cabinet.

  4. Chaudhary Charan Singh Inder Kumar Gujral Atal Bihari Vajpayee had to resign due to no-confidence motion.

Functions and Powers of the Prime Minister

Following are the functions and powers of the Prime Minister

Regarding the President

The Prime Minister plays the role of communication between the President and the Council of Ministers

Regarding the Council of Ministers

  • Following are the functions and powers of the Prime Minister as the head of the Union Council of Ministers.


  1. Like allocation and reshuffling of departments among ministers.

  2. To recommend to the President the appointment of a person as a minister or to recommend the resignation of a minister or his dismissal by the President.

  3. Presiding over the meetings of the Council of Ministers and influencing their decisions. Dismissing the Cabinet through one's own resignation letter.

Regarding Parliament

  1. The Prime Minister is the leader of the Lok Sabha, hence he exercises the following powers in this regard.

  2. Giving advice to the President regarding summoning and proroguing the Parliament session.

  3. To recommend to the President the dissolution of the Lok Sabha at any time.

  4. Announcing government policies in Parliament etc.

Other Powers and Functions

Along with the above mentioned role, the Prime Minister also has other roles like –

  1. Effective role in giving shape to the nation's foreign policy.

  2. Principal Spokesperson of the Central Government.

  3. political head of the armies.

  4. He is the Chairman of the National Development Council, National Integration Council, Inter State Council and National Water Resources Council.

  5. Thus, the Prime Minister has a very important and effective role in the political administrative system of the country.

Prime Minister and coalition government

  1. Since the 1990s, especially in the event of a hung parliament and coalition government, the position and role of the Prime Minister has declined such as –

  2. In the era of coalition government, the role of the prime minister has declined in the formation of the cabinet.

  3. Even in the distribution of portfolios, the Prime Minister was not able to take any more independent decisions.

  4. In the era of coalition government, the Prime Minister is not able to function well even as a link between the President and the Council of Ministers.

  5. There has been a decline in the parliamentary leadership of the Prime Minister. In the era of coalition government, the Prime Minister has to depend on his allies for conducting parliamentary work.

  6. In a coalition government, the coordination committee of the parties also remains under the control of the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister and controversy

  1. The 39th Amendment Act of 1975 has provided that the election of the Prime Minister is outside the jurisdiction of the court, but in the 44th Amendment Act, Article 329A added under the 39th Amendment Act has been repealed.

  2. Arrangements were made by the 44th Amendment Act that the hearing of the disputes related to the election of the Prime Minister would be done in the same way as against the member of Parliament under Article 329.



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