The position of the Chief Minister of a state is as the elected head of the state government. Two union territories, namely Delhi and Puducherry also have chief ministers. The Constitution of India specifies the powers of chief minister as the de facto executive authority assisting the Governor, the de jure head of a state. It is an important topic in Indian Polity. In this article, we will know more about the office of the chief minister and the powers and functions that they fulfil.
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Appointment of Chief Minister
The process of the appointment of chief minister starts after the assembly elections are over in a state. The following are the steps that are followed:
- The Governor invites the party winning the majority of seats in the election to form the government.
- In the absence of a single party securing the majority vote, a coalition can also be invited to form the government.
- The party or coalition nominates a person among them to be the chief minister, who is then sworn in and appointed to the position by the Governor.
- The council of ministers is also sworn in at the same time. They are collectively responsible to the state legislative council or assembly.
The term of a minister can last a maximum of 5 years, based on the condition that they retain the confidence of the assembly and the CM. The chief minister and the whole cabinet also depend on retaining the confidence of the state legislature.
Qualification of Chief Minister
The following are the conditions should be met for a person to be elected to the post:
- Indian citizenship
- Attainment of 25 years of age
- Membership of the state legislature
- If the membership of the state legislature is not attained within six months of being elected to the post of CM, the person has to resign under constitutional provisions.
It is imperative that the CM be literate or at least attain literacy before assuming office. Though the constitution does not stipulate any literacy requirements, it will be difficult for an illiterate person to fulfil the duties of a CM.
Powers and Functions of Chief Minister
The CM of a state has various functions, some of which are listed as follows:
- Supervision of various ministers of the state cabinet.
- Ensuring no policies go against the public interest.
- Advising the Governor on policy and higher appointments within the state.
- Administration of the state and handling centre-state and interstate relations.
To enable fulfiment of their functions, CMs have a range of powers as listed below:
- Power to advise the governor to appoint or drop a minister from the cabinet
- Power to recommend dissolution of the state assembly
- Power to overrule other ministers
- Power to guide and warn ministers of his cabinet.
The CM of a state is the most powerful office in the state government. This makes the office of the Chief minister an important topic for the Indian Polity syllabus of the UPSC.
IAS aspirants should read more on the CM and council of ministers along with other topics for General Studies as well as the optional subject, Political Science and International Relations.
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