News Excerpt
A Constitutional crisis looms large on the fate of Maharashtra Government. The Chief Minister will have to get elected to either of the two houses of the state legislature before May 24. This is because Article 164(4) of the Constitution stipulates that “a Minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the Legislature of the State shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a Minister”. However, the Election Commission has already postponed Rajya Sabha polls, by elections and civic body elections in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pre-Connect
Provisions of Article 164 of Indian Constitution
•    The chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister. (Article 164 (1))
•    The Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor (Article 164 (1))
•    The total number of Ministers, including the Chief Minister, in the Council of Ministers in a State shall not exceed fifteen per cent of the total number of members of the Legislative Assembly of that State. However, the number of Ministers, including Chief Minister in a State shall not be less than twelve (Article 164 (1A)). This provision was included by the 91st Amendment Act, 2003.
•    The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly of the State (Article 164 (2)).
•    A Minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the Legislature of the State shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a Minister (Article 164 (4)).

Composition of Legislative Councils (Article 171)
Maximum Limit: 1/3rd of total member of Legislative assembly of that State
Minimum Limit: 40
1/3rd of total member of the Council    Elected by electorates consisting of members of municipalities, district boards and such other local authorities in the State
1/12th     Elected by electorates consisting of persons residing in the State who have been for at least three years graduates of any university in the territory of India
1/12th    Elected by electorates consisting of persons who have been for at least three years engaged in teaching in such educational institutions within the State, not lower in standard than that of a secondary school
1/3rd    Shall be elected by the members of the Legislative Assembly of the State from amongst persons who are not members of the Assembly
1/6th    Nominated by the Governor from among persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as the following, namely: Literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service

Analytica
The Constitutional Crisis
    Maharashtra CM must become member of either houses of state legislature by 24th May. Failing this he will be forced to step down as per provisions of Article 164 (4).
    Before the coronavirus pandemic struck, Thackeray's plan was to get elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Council by his MLAs in a March 26 election. However, the polls were postponed in the aftermath of COVID-19.
    A second option is available. The Governor can nominate the CM to the legislative council. As per Art. 171, he can nominate those "persons with special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as the following, namely: literature, science, art, co-operative movement and social service”.  
    However, there is also the legal issue of Thackeray having to be nominated to the Legislative Council on one of its two vacancies. According to the Sec. 151A of Representation of the People Act 1951, election or nomination to the post cannot be done if “the remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is less than one year”. The terms of the two vacancies in the Legislative Council end on June 6.

An alternate solution but with legal pitfalls
    There is an alternative option. This may be found in a political situation in Punjab. In 1995, faced with a similar dilemma and his ministership at stake, Tej Parkash Singh resigned at the end of his six month period and re-took oath immediately afterwards. In a similar way, Thackeray could resign at the end of the deadline, and re-join, which could open up another six months for him.
    However, a downside is that such an action could open up chances for legal pushback. Singh's actions in 1995 were nullified by the Supreme Court, which ruled the move "improper and invalid". The Supreme Court held that Singh’s second appointment “without getting elected in the meanwhile was improper, undemocratic, invalid and unconstitutional”.
    

Principle of Collective Responsibility
❖    According to Article 75 (3) of Constitution, the Union Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha.
❖    The principle indicates that the ministry is an executive committee of the Parliament and it collectively governs on behalf of the Parliament.
❖    Ministry which loses confidence of the Lok Sabha is obliged to resign.
❖    Collective responsibility is based on the principle of the solidarity of the cabinet.
❖    A vote of no confidence even against a single minister leads to the resignation of the entire Council of Ministers.
❖    It also indicates that if a minister does not agree with a policy or decision of the cabinet, he or she must either accept the decision or resign.
❖    Similarly, Article 164 (2) makes the council of minister in a state collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly of the state.

PEPPER IT WITH
Article 75, Article 163, Individual Responsibility, Collective Responsibility