Life-long Cabinet status
- April 16, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Life-long Cabinet status
Context: A public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the High Court of Bombay at Goa has challenged the decision of the Goa government to accord life-long Cabinet status to former chief minister Pratapsingh Rane in January this year.
- PIL has urged the court to quash the January 7 notification that had conferred the “lifetime status of the rank of Cabinet minister”.
- Mr PratapsinghRaoji Rane, former chief minister and former speaker (of the Goa Assembly) has completed 50 years as a legislator. The Cabinet has decided that in future also those who complete 50 years and hold posts like CM and speaker will be given the Cabinet status even after their retirement.
- Challenges in giving Life-long Cabinet status
- Before granting the lifetime Cabinet status, the Cabinet did not obtain financial sanction from the finance ministry as required under the rules, as the resolution involved financial expenditure.
- PIL, has stated that the Constitution does not provide for conferring Cabinet status on any individual other than a current minister and that there is no law under which Cabinet status can be granted to an individual who was a former minister.
- Goa has a 12-member Cabinet and the conferment of Cabinet status on Rane results in the number of Cabinet ranks being 13, which exceeds the mandate of law, against purpose of the 91st Amendment to the Constitution.
What is Cabinet?
- The Council of Ministers is a large body comprising a number of ministers of various ranks seldom meets. The Cabinet is a smaller inner body within the Council of Ministers and it is the effective policy-making organ of the Council. It consists of principal Ministers on whom rests the real responsibility of formulating policies. It is to be noted that even though this system of government is widely known as the Cabinet system of government.
Constitutional Position of Cabinet:
- The original constitution did not specifically mention the word Cabinet anywhere and it is based on the understandings and conventions of Britain.
- Article 74 of the Constitution provides only the Council of Ministers and makes no mention of Cabinet.
- It was through the 44th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1978 that the word Cabinet was used under Article 352.
- All members of the Council of Ministers are not members of the Cabinet.
- Composition of Cabinet: Composition of the cabinet is flexible. It is for the Prime Minister to determine from time to time the compositions of the Cabinet, though due to the relative importance of certain departments, their ministers are invariably its members.
- Appointment of Cabinet Minister: Cabinet Ministers are appointed by the President. The Prime Minister selects his Cabinet Ministers. The President has to simply accept the recommendations of the Prime Minister. The President has to accept the team chosen by him.
- Qualification of Cabinet Minister: Cabinet Ministers must be a member of either House of Parliament. If a person who is not a member of either House of the Parliament is appointed as a Minister, he shall cease to be a minister after six months unless in the meanwhile Minister has to get himself/herself elected to either House of Parliament within six months.
- Disqualification of Cabinet Minister Due To Defection: Also, if a member of Parliament has been disqualified on the ground of defection, he would not be eligible to become a Minister. But if he again gets elected in the next freshly held Parliamentary election then he will be eligible to become a minister.
Role of Cabinet
- It is the Cabinet that controls the Parliament and governs the country.
- The Cabinet ministers are the members of the Cabinets, while a Minister of State may attend a Cabinet meeting when matters pertaining to his department are to be discussed.
- Cabinet decides major questions of policies. Its decisions are binding on all ministers.
- The various government departments carry out the cabinet’s policy decision by administering the law and devising measures for enactment as law by Parliament.
- Higher-ranking appointments, such as constitutional authorities and senior secretariat administrators, are under the control of the Cabinet.
- The Cabinet is in charge of all international policy and affairs.
- It is the Cabinet and not the Council of Ministers who advises the President, its advice is binding on him.