Electoral Reforms In India

States do not violate Constitution in appointment of Deputy CM: Supreme Court


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Deputy CM

Mains level: Political alliances and their stable functioning


  • The Supreme Court recently dismissed a petition challenging the appointment of Deputy Chief Ministers in States, stating that the position does not breach the Constitution.
  • Despite lacking constitutional backing, Deputy CM play significant roles in state governments, raising questions about their powers, significance, and concerns.

What is the Deputy CM Position?

  • Constitutional Status: Unlike the Vice President of India, the Deputy CM post is political rather than constitutional.
  • Origin: The post traces back to the Deputy PM position established in 1947 post-independence, leading to the evolution of Deputy CM roles in states.
  • Appointment and Tenure: Deputy CMs are appointed and removed at the discretion of the Chief Minister, who may appoint multiple Deputy CMs.
  • Historical Context: Anugrah Narayan Sinha of Bihar was the first Deputy CM post-Independence, with 12 states in India having Deputy CMs as of July 2023.

Powers and Responsibilities

  • Rank and Pay: Deputy CMs hold a rank equivalent to cabinet ministers, receiving similar pays and perks.
  • Portfolio Allocation: They are entrusted with portfolios, although typically smaller in scale compared to the Chief Minister.
  • Financial Powers: Deputy CMs hold no specific financial authority, requiring approval from the Chief Minister for expenditures exceeding allocated budgets.
  • Administrative Role: They facilitate governance and administration, acting as a bridge between the ruling party and its allies.

Significance of Deputy CMs

  • Political Stability: Deputy CMs contribute to coalition government stability by bridging gaps between ruling parties and allies, reducing incidents of anti-defection.
  • Representation and Trust: Their presence ensures better representation of communities, fostering public trust in governance.
  • Succession and Accountability: Deputy CMs serve as potential successors to the Chief Minister, promoting transparency and accountability in government.

Concerns and Suggestions

  • Lack of Constitutional Backing: Raises concerns about role ambiguity and potential exploitation by Chief Ministers.
  • Multiplicity of Appointments: No limit on the number of Deputy CMs can lead to appeasement and governance complexities.
  • Complexity in Governance: Overlapping roles with cabinet ministers may complicate governance and administration.

Future Perspectives

  • Clarity and Limitations: Need for a defined role and limitations for Deputy CMs to simplify governance structures.
  • Political Literacy: Enhancing awareness among citizens about the role and function of Deputy CMs is essential for informed governance.

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