The Importance Of Ministerial Responsibility

1600 Words7 Pages
1.0 Introduction The doctrine of ministerial responsibility has been said to develop in the 19th century and can be traced back to liberal democratic government. This doctrine is essential and important as it is described as the backbone of the cabinet system as practice in the parliamentary system. It plays a fundamental role in regulating the relationship between the executive and the Parliament.
It is hard to precisely define ministerial responsibility as the definition of ministerial responsibility varies with different constitutional law jurists. For instance, Wadе & Bradlеy characterized the doctrine as “Within a democratic state, those who govern should be accountable, or responsible, to whom they govern”. Whereas Marshall and Moody
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Constitutional law expert, Dr. Abdul Aziz Bari states that the doctrine of ministerial responsibility is important as it stands at the very heart of the cabinet system. It is the doctrine that keeps the cabinet together so as to make it easier for the Parliament to make the government of the day accountable as the people’s representatives.
2.0 Doctrine of Ministerial Responsibility The doctrine of ministerial responsibility consists of two fundamental pillars, which is the collective ministerial responsibility and the individual ministerial responsibility.
2.1 Individual Ministerial
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Lord Salisbury defines the convention as ‘For all that passes in Cabinet, every member of it who does not resign is absolutely and irretrievably responsible and has no right afterwards to say that he agreed in one case to a compromise, while in another, he was persuaded by his colleagues... It is only on the principle that absolute responsibility is undertaken by every member of the Cabinet, who, after a decision is arrived at, remains a member of it, that the joint responsibility of Ministers to Parliament can be upheld and one of the essential principles of parliamentary responsibility established’. In other words, ministers need to be unanimous and appear to be united and in one voice. According to this convention, each minister have to support all government policies and cannot vote against a government policy. Moreover, ministers cannot openly express his views that oppose or criticise a government policy. A minister is required to resign if he disagrees with the opinion of the Prime Minister and the other ministers and insists to retain by his principles in order to observe the convention of collective ministerial
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