TOPIC- Collective Responsibility of Cabinet: Constitutional Organs
The basic principle of Parliamentary form of Government is the principle of collective responsibility. In England, this principle works on well established conventions. In India, this principle ensured by marking specific provisions in the Constitution. Article 75 (3) provides that the Council of Ministers shall be collective responsibility to the Lok Sabha.
The principle of collective responsibility means that the Council of Ministers is as a body responsible to the Lok Sabha for the general conduct of affairs of the Government. The Council of Ministers work as a team and all decisions taken by the cabinet are the joint decisions of all its members. No matter whatever be their personal differences of opinion within the Cabinet, but once a decision has taken by it, it is the duty of each and every Minister to stand by it and support it both in the Legislature and outside.
Lord Salisbury explained this principle of collective responsibility thus: “For all that passes in the Cabinet each member of it who does not resign is absolutely irretrievably responsible, and has no right afterward to say that he agreed in one sense to a compromise while in another he was persuaded by his colleagues.
Thus the only alternative before a Minister who is not prepared to support and defend the decision of the Cabinet is to resign. This is a great weapon in the hands of the Prime Minister through which he maintains unity and discipline in his colleagues (Cabinet). A Minister who does not agree with Prime Minster or the Cabinet has the only alternative, that is, to resign from the Cabinet.
According to this rule, the Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha, hence as soon as a Ministry looses the confidence of the House or is defeated on any question of policy, it must resign.
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