News Excerpt
The Opposition in Madhya Pradesh has said that they will move the court as the strength of the Council of Ministers in Madhya Pradesh reportedly exceeds the prescribed limit.  

Pre-Connect
•    As per the rule, the number of Ministers in the state can’t exceed 15% of the Assembly’s strength. Madhya Pradesh can have a maximum of 34 ministers.
•    In MP’s case, the actual strength of VidhanSabha presently is only 206 (total strength of the house is 230), which means the number of members in the council of ministers cannot exceed 30.9. But after recent cabinet expansion, the total strength of the council of ministers, including the CM is 34, which violates 15% criteria laid down by constitution.
•    While Constitution mentions the lower limit of 12 ministers, the Supreme Court had ruled in 2008 that there is no violation of the law if a CoM has less members than the lower limit because the Act was enacted to put a cap on the huge expenditure incurred by states because of jumbo cabinets.

91st Constitutional Amendment Act, 2003:
Made the following provisions to limit the size of Council of Ministers, to debar defectors from holding public offices, and to strengthen the anti-defection law:
1.    The total number of ministers, including the Prime Minister, in the CentralCouncil of Ministers shall not exceed 15% of the total strength of the LokSabha.
2.    A member of either house of Parliament belonging to any political party who is disqualified on the ground of defection shall also be disqualified to be appointed as a minister.
3.    The total number of ministers, including the Chief Minister, in the Council of Ministers in a state shall not exceed 15% of the total strength of the legislative Assembly of that state. But, the number of ministers, including the Chief Minister, in a state shall not be less than 12.
4.    A member of either House of a state legislature belonging to any political party who is disqualified on the ground of defection shall also be disqualified to be appointed as a minister.
5.    A member of either House of Parliament or either House of a State Legislature belonging to any political party who is disqualified on the ground of defection shall also be disqualified to hold any remunerative political post. The expression “remunerative political post” means
o    any office under the central government or a state government where the salary or remuneration for such office is paid out of the public revenue of the concerned government; or
o    any office under a body, whether incorporated or not, which is wholly or partially owned by the central government or a state government and the salary or remuneration for such office is paid by such body, except where such salary or remuneration paid is compensatory in nature.
6.    The provision of the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection law) pertaining to exemption from disqualification in case of split by one-third members of legislature party has been deleted. It means that the defectors have no more protection on grounds of splits.

No Lower Cap
The era of jumbo ministries may have ended after the 2003 constitutional amendment put a cap on the number of members in a council of ministers, but there is no violation of the law if a council of ministers has less members than the lower limit, the Supreme Court held it after hearing a PIL filed in 2008.
The Bench further said that the Constitutional 91st Amendment Act, 2003, was enacted to put a cap on the huge expenditure incurred by states because of jumbo cabinets. "The intention was to reduce pressure on the state exchequer.”

Conclusion
The introduction of the 91st Constitutional Amendment Act, 2003 in the Indian Constitution was aimed to put a cap on the huge expenditure incurred by states because of jumbo cabinets. Though the law has succeeded in a reasonable way but due to some of its loopholes, it has not been able to achieve the best it can.