Explain the two aspects of Ministerial Responsibility.
Ministerial Responsibility is an important feature of the Parliamentary form of government. It has two dimensions:
Collective Responsibility: Article 75 (3) of the Constitution reads that “the Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People”. This is what the term ‘Ministerial Responsibility’ actually means.
The essence of Collective Responsibility is that ‘a measure accepted by the Cabinet is regarded as the joint responsibility of every one, whether or not he was present at the meeting which reached the conclusion or whether he opposed it when discussed.’
A No-Confidence Motion is generally moved by the Leader of the Opposition to express want of confidence in the government. If the Motion is passed, the Ministry has to resign.
Individual Responsibility: Every Minister is obliged to answer questions regarding his Ministry.
Apart from being collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha, the Ministers are individually responsible to the President. Constitution dictates that a Minister can be dismissed if he loses the confidence of the President.
However, in reality, the President acts on the advice of the Prime Minister in such situations. Usually the Prime Minister’s directive to resign is acted upon by the Ministers under party or alliance compulsions.
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