In a state, Governor is the nominal executive authority (de jure executive) and Chief Minister is the real executive authority (de facto executive), in the scheme of the parliamentary system of government provided by the constitution. In other words, the governor is the head of the State while the Chief Minister is the head of the government.
To be eligible for the position of the Chief Minister of a state a person should:
- Be a citizen of India.
- Be a member of state legislature or legislative council.
- Completed 25 years of age
An individual who is not a member of the legislature can be considered the chief minister provided they get themselves elected to the State Legislature within six months from the date of their appointment. Failing which, they would cease to be the chief minister.
Appointment of Chief Minister
- Article 164 – The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the governor. However, the governor can only appoint the majority leader in the state legislature as the CM.
- When no party has a clear majority, then the governor may exercise his personal discretion in the selection of CM. In such case, he usually appoints the leader of largest party or coalition in the assembly as the CM.
- The constitution does not require that a person has to be a member of state legislature to become a CM. A person can be appointed as CM and can later become member of assembly within six months.
- Also, it is not compulsory to prove majority in the house before appointment as CM. The person so appointed can later prove his majority within a reasonable period of time.
- A CM can be either from state legislature assembly or legislative council.
Oath and Term of office of CM
- The oath to the office of CM is administered by Governor of that state.
- The CM holds office so long as he enjoys the majority in legislative assembly.
- If a CM loses confidence of assembly, he must resign or the governor can dismiss him.
Powers and Functions of CM
In relation to Governor
Article 163 - There shall be a council of ministers with Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Governor who shall act in accordance with such advice.
Article 167 - He is the crucial medium of communication between the governor and the council of ministers. It is the duty of the Chief Minister:
- To communicate to the governor all decisions of the council of ministers relating to the administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation.
- To furnish such information relating to the administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation as the Governor may call for.
- If the Governor so requires, to submit for the 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 council.
- He advises the president with regard to appointment of various officials like advocate general, members of state public service commission.
In relation to council of ministers
The Chief Minister is the head of council of ministers. Hence in case of resignation of CM, or death of CM, the council of ministers dissolves automatically. With respect to the council of ministers, the CM enjoys the following power:
- The Ministers are appointed by the governor only on the recommendation of CM.
- The CM can reshuffle portfolios of the ministers and can also ask a minister to resign.
- He presides over the meeting of the council of ministers and influences its decisions, guides, directs, controls, and coordinates the activities of all the ministers.
Miscellaneous Powers and Functions
- He is the chairperson of the state planning board.
- He acts as a vice-chairperson of the concerned zonal council by rotation, holding office for a period of one year at a time.
- He is a member of the Inter-State council and the Governing council of NITI Aayog.
- He is the chief spokesman of the state government.