Legal Article

The Dynamics of Ministerial Removal from the Cabinet: A Closer Look

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

High Court Lucknow

Article

Reading Time:

Published on: 21 Aug, 2023

Introduction

In the world’s largest democracy, India, the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister is an epitome of collective responsibility to the Parliament. The functioning of this Council is strictly guided by the Indian Constitution, which also provides for the removal or resignation of a minister. This blog post aims to delve into the intricacies of removing a minister from the Cabinet, examining the circumstances, procedures, and implications of such a step.

Constitutional Framework

Article 75 of the Indian Constitution states that the President appoints ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister. Similarly, the removal of ministers is also conducted through Presidential orders, typically based on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Grounds for Removal

Loss of Majority

If a minister loses his or her seat in the House to which they belong (either Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha), it could lead to their removal from the Cabinet.

Non-Performance

A minister could be removed for failing to carry out duties effectively, which might include poor implementation of policies or administrative inefficiency.

Breach of Discipline

Any action that goes against the collective responsibility or violates the party’s code of conduct can serve as grounds for removal.

Corruption and Scandals

Serious charges of corruption, moral turpitude, or involvement in any scandal can fast-track a minister’s removal.

Political Reasons

Sometimes, ministers are removed due to changing political scenarios, such as the break-up of a coalition, to appease an ally or due to intra-party politics.

Procedure for Removal

The Prime Minister advises the President to remove a minister, following which the President issues the order for removal. In practice, the Prime Minister may ask the minister to submit a resignation to carry out the process smoothly.

Implications of Removal

Impact on Governance

The removal of a minister, especially one holding a critical portfolio, could lead to temporary disruption in governance and delay in policy implementation.

Political Repercussions

The removal can have varying political implications. It may be viewed as a corrective step by the government, thereby earning it public praise. On the other hand, it may lead to negative publicity and a loss of credibility, depending on the reasons for the removal.

Party Dynamics

The removal of a minister is often a sensitive issue that can lead to internal strife within the ruling party or coalition. It may even necessitate a cabinet reshuffle to maintain the balance of power and appease stakeholders.

Conclusion

The removal of a minister from the Cabinet is a significant political and governance-related event, impacting not just the individual and the ministry involved but also the broader government and public perception. While the Constitution of India clearly outlines the procedure for such removals, the real dynamics involve a complex interplay of performance, politics, and perception. This makes the removal of a minister from the Cabinet a topic worth understanding and scrutinizing in the larger context of democratic governance.