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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
 
  May 2016
 
  April 2016
 
 
 
 
CONSTITUTION OF INDIA
Article 75. Other Provisions as to Ministers.

75. "Other Provisions as to Ministers.- (1) 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.

(1A) The total number of Ministers, including the Prime Minister, in the Council of Ministers shall not exceed fifteen per cent. of the total number of members of the House of the People.

(1B) A member of either House of Parliament belonging to any political party who is disqualified for being a member of that House under paragraph 2 of the Tenth Schedule shall also be disqualified to be appointed as a Minister under clause (1) for duration of the period commencing from the date of his disqualification till the date on which the term of his office as such member would expire or where he contests any election to either House of Parliament before the expiry of such period, till the date on which he is declared elected, whichever is earlier.

(2) The Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the President.

(3) The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People.

(4) Before a Minister enters upon his office, the President shall administer to him the oaths of office and of secrecy according to the forms set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule.

(5) 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.

(6) 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 75 is a dual supplement to Part V of the Constitution i.e. Union Executive. Firstly it spells out the power of the President in the appointment of the Prime Minister of India and secondly the clear-cut provisions of Union Ministers including their appointments, numbers, salaries and allowances along with the required provisions in functioning of both the Houses of Parliament. Clause (1) of the Article exclusively provides that the President shall appoint the Prime Minister and since the Prime Minister is the head of the Government, he shall advice the President in appointment of other Ministers.

The Form of Oath prescribed in the Third Schedule of the Constitution is the same for the Prime Minister and other Ministers. In other words, the Constitution does not draw any distinction between the Prime Minister and any other Minister in this behalf. It does not mean that the Prime Minister does not enjoy any special status; he does enjoy special status as he is the head of the Council of Ministers though the responsibility of Council of Ministers to Lok Sabha is collective. Further the caption of provision of Article 75 says that no separate provision is made out in the Constitution for appointment of Prime Minister of a country like India as a vast democracy. Therefore, even though the Prime Minister is appointed by the President after he is chosen by the Members of the Lok Sabha it has to be ensured that he has confidence of the Lok Sabha. Before 1 st January, 2004 (effective date of Constitutional 91 st Amendment) the Prime Minister had own prorogation to appoint any number of Ministers in his so-called Cabinet. But the Constitution (Ninety-first Amendment) Act in the year 2003 made a drastic change in curbing such power of the Prime Minister. This Amendment added clause (1A) in this Article which made a specific provision that, the total number of Union Ministers including Prime Minister in no case can exceed 15% of the total number of Members of Lok Sabha. Clause (1B) of this Article which was also added by Constitution 91 st Amendment of 2003 made a new provision that a member of either Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha who is disqualified under the 10 th Schedule of the Constitution shall also be disqualified for being appointed as a Minister from the date of expiry of his tenure or if he contests any further election before the expiry of such period, till the date on which he is declared elected, whichever is earlier.

Clause (2) of this Article states that the Ministers shall continue in their offices during the pleasure of the President and not the Prime Minister. Clause (3) specifies that the Ministers are collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha as a whole and not to the Prime Minister. Clause (4) specifies that the Ministers take oath of office and secrecy from the President in the specific Form given in the Third Schedule of the Constitution. Clause (5) states the seizure of Ministerial status if a Minister for any period of six consecutive months is not elected as member of either Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. Clause (6) only makes the provision of salaries and allowances of Ministers but does not specifically mention the amount. It is a peculiar provisio that their salaries and allowances are determined by the Parliament and until so they shall receive their salaries and allowances as specified in the Second Schedule of the Constitution. But dramatically the Second Schedule does not specify their salaries and allowances because Part-B which dealt with such provision was removed by the Constitution 7 th Amendment in 1956. Rather the salary of the Prime Minister and other Ministers is fixed by the Parliament and is charged on a specific head besides other handful amenities.

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