Council of Ministers (CoM)

Quest for UPSC CSE Panels

Council of Ministers (CoM)-Image




GS-II: Polity

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Prelims:  Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.

Mains:  Structure, Organization and Functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government


What does the Council of Ministers (CoM) constitute?

The Council of Ministers (COM) is the highest decision-making body in the government, headed by the Prime Minister. According to the 91st Constitutional Amendment Act 2003, The total number of ministers, including the Prime Minister, in the Central Council of Ministers shall not exceed 15 percent of the total strength of the Lok Sabha. In India, the Council of Ministers is divided into the following levels:

  • Ministers are responsible for heading the ministries and departments of the Central government.
  • Ministers of State are those who may be given independent charge of specific departments or may assist cabinet ministers.
  • Deputy Ministers assist both cabinet ministers and ministers of state in their administrative, political, and parliamentary duties.
  • Additionally, the Prime Minister may suggest appointing a Deputy Prime Minister, usually for political reasons.

Note: Cabinet Ministers being a part of the Council of Ministers, hold major ministries such as Home, Defense and Finance.


What are the constitutional provisions pertaining to the Council of Ministers(CoM) in India?



Article 74

  • There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at the head to aid and advise the President who shall, in the exercise of his functions, act in accordance with such advice.
  • Advice tendered by Ministers to the President shall not be inquired into in any court.

Article 75

  • The Prime Minister shall be appointed by the President and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.
  • The Minister shall hold office during the pleasure of the President.
  • The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People.
  • Before a Minister enters his office, the President shall administer the oaths of office and secrecy according to the forms set out in the Third Schedule.
  • A Minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of either House of Parliament shall at the expiration of that period, cease to be a Minister.
  • The salaries and allowances of Ministers shall be such as Parliament may from time to time by law determine and, until Parliament so determines, shall be as specified in the Second Schedule.

Article 77

  • All executive action of the Government of India shall be expressed to be taken in the name of the President.
  • Orders and other instruments made and executed in the name of the President shall be authenticated as may be specified in rules to be made by the President. The validity of an order or instrument so authenticated shall not be called into question on the ground that it is not an order or instrument made or executed by the President.
  • The President shall make rules for the more convenient transaction of the business of the Government of India and for the allocation among Ministers of the said business

Article 78

  • It shall be the duty of the Prime Minister to communicate to the President all decisions of the council of Ministers relating to the administration of the affairs of the union and proposals for legislation.
  • It shall be the duty of the Prime Minister to furnish such information relating to the administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation as the President may call for.
  • It shall be the duty of the Prime Minister, if the President 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.

Article 88

  • Every Minister shall have the right to speak in and otherwise to take part in the proceedings of either House, any  joint sitting of the Houses, and any committee of Parliament, of which he may be named a member.

Table: Constitutional Provisions related to Council of Ministers


Oath and Salary of Ministers 

  • Oath: The President will administer the oaths of office and secrecy to the Minister. In his/her oath of office, the minister swears:
  • to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India, 
  • to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India,
  • to faithfully and conscientiously discharge the duties of his office, and
  • to do right to all manner of people in accordance with the Constitution and the law, without fear or favour, affection or ill will.
  • Salary: The compensation for ministers, including salaries and benefits, is established by Parliament and includes the same pay and perks as for members of Parliament, as well as additional privileges such as a sumptuary allowance, free accommodation, traveling allowance, medical facilities, etc. 


What are the various responsibilities of the Council of Ministers(CoM)?

Collective Responsibility

  • The principle of collective responsibility is a cornerstone of the parliamentary system of government, as outlined in Article 75 of the constitution. 
  • This principle holds that all members of the council of ministers are jointly responsible to the Lok Sabha, meaning they must work as a team and take responsibility for their actions as a group. 
  • When the Lok Sabha passes a motion of no confidence against the council of ministers, all members of the council must resign, including those from the Rajya Sabha. 
  • Additionally, the principle of collective responsibility also means that all cabinet ministers, as well as other ministers, are bound by decisions made by the Cabinet, even if they disagree with them during the Cabinet meeting.

Individual Responsibility

  • In addition to the principle of collective responsibility, Article 75 also includes the principle of individual responsibility. 
  • Individual responsibility means that ministers serve at the pleasure of the President and can be removed by the President at any time, regardless of whether the council of ministers has the confidence of the Lok Sabha. 
  • However, such removal would only occur on the advice of the Prime Minister. If the Prime Minister has a difference of opinion or is unhappy with a minister's performance, he/she can request the resignation of the Minister or advise the President to dismiss him/her.


What is the significance of the CoM in a Parliamentary democracy?

The significance of the Council of Ministers in a parliamentary democracy can be analyzed through several key areas:

  • Policy-making: The Council of Ministers plays a crucial role in setting policy priorities and making major policy decisions. It acts as the primary decision-making body of the government, responsible for determining the direction and priorities of government policies.
  • Implementation: The Council of Ministers ensures that government policies are implemented effectively. This includes allocating resources, supervising the work of government departments, and monitoring progress.
  • Leadership: The Council of Ministers provides leadership and direction to the government. It is led by the Prime Minister, who acts as the head of the government and provides overall direction and guidance to the Council of Ministers.
  • Accountability: The Council of Ministers is accountable to the Parliament, and the Prime Minister is responsible to the Parliament for the actions of the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers is required to answer questions from members of Parliament and to present its policies and legislation for approval.
  • Confidence of Parliament: The Council of Ministers must maintain the confidence of the Parliament, which it does by presenting the government's policies and legislation for approval and by answering questions from members of Parliament.


How is the CoM different from the Cabinet?


                 Council of Ministers


  • The council of ministers usually consists of about 70 ministers of the government. The total strength of CoM can not exceed 15% of the strength of Lok Sabha.
  • The size of the cabinet is generally more than 25 ministers. The current government(2019-2024) has 30 Cabinet Ministers.
  • Consists of all the categories of Ministers, such as Minister of Cabinet Rank, Minister of State(Independent Charge), and Minister of State.
  • Includes Minister of Cabinet Rank only.
  • It has all powers but in theory.
  • It exercises the powers of the Council of Ministers.
  • Its function and business is decided by the Cabinet.
  • Decisions of the Cabinet are binding on all Ministers.
  • It is a constitutional body
  • It was added through the 44th Constitutional Amendment in Article 352.

Table: Difference between Council of Ministers and Cabinet 


Previous Year Questions(PYQs)



Q) Which of the following are not necessarily the consequences of the proclamation of the President’s rule in a State? (2017)

  1. Dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly
  2. Removal of the Council of Ministers in the State
  3. Dissolution of the local bodies

Select the correct answer using the code below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 1 and 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


Q) The Parliament of India exercises control over the functions of the Council of Ministers through (2016)

  1. Adjournment motion
  2. Question hour
  3. Supplementary questions

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


Q) There is a Parliamentary System of Government in India because the (2015)

(a) Lok Sabha is elected directly by the people

(b) Parliament can amend the Constitution

(c) Rajya Sabha cannot be dissolved

(d) Council of Ministers is resp


Q) Consider the following statements: (2013)

  1. The Council of Ministers in the Centre shall be collectively responsible to the Parliament.
  2. The Union Ministers shall hold the office during the pleasure of the President of India.
  3. The Prime Minister shall communicate to the President about the proposals for legislation.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


Q) When the annual Union Budget is not passed by the Lok Sabha

(a) the Budget is modified and presented again

(b) the Budget is referred to the Rajya Sabha for suggestions

(c) the Union Finance Minister is asked to resign

(d) the Prime Minister submits the resignation of Council of Ministers


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q) Do ministers have legal responsibility in India?

The Indian Constitution does not include provisions for the legal responsibility of ministers. There is no requirement for orders issued by the President for public acts to be countersigned by a minister. The courts are not allowed to investigate the advice provided by ministers to the President.


Q) When was the first No-confidence motion moved in India?

The first no-confidence motion was moved during the third Lok Sabha in 1963 when Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister. The motion was moved by former Congress and Praja Socialist Party leader Acharya J B Kripalani. The motion, moved by 40 MPs was debated for 21 hours and lasted four days. Nehru successfully managed to defeat the motion.