Government

The Council of State


Membership of the Council consists of present and former:-

-  Prime Ministers and other federal Cabinet ministers
-  Provincial Chief Ministers and senior provincial ministers
-  High Chief Justices and other High Justices of the Supreme Court
-  Chief Justices of other courts
-  Speakers of both houses of Parliament.
-  Speakers of Provincial Assemblies
and other notable people appointed on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.

Committees

The three main committees of the Council are:-

Federal Executive Committee

More on the Cabinet here

Constitutional Committee

The Constitutional Committee consists of judicial members of the Council, and is chaired by the Chief Justice of the High Court. Its primary function is to decide whether proposed legislation should be referred to the Supreme Court for a judgement on its constitutional validity. Requests for decisions may be referred to it by the King, ministers, or speakers of houses of Parliament and Provincial Assemblies. Any bill may be referred to the committee by any of these bodies, e.g. a provincial Assembly (through its Speaker) could refer a federal bill for consideration, and vice versa.

Federal-Provincial Committee

The Federal-Provincial committee is the official conduit for collective communication between the federal and provincial governments. It consists of senior federal and provincial ministers and is normally chaired by the Vice-President of the Council of State (the federal minister responsible for inter-governmental relations). The Committee holds a two-day open meeting once a year, but also communicates informally and privately on a regular basis.

Other business

In addition to the work of the committees, the Council as a whole has a number of other functions, which include:-

Promulgation of state instruments

Royal assent to new laws, decrees and other instruments are always given by The King-in-Council. The Council, with the King present, usually meets once a month for this purpose, but may be called more often when necessary. For this purpose, it is usual for only the Vice-President of the Council and three or four current ministers to attend, and the process is a formality.

Appointing a Prime Minister or Chief Minister

Normally where there is a vacancy, a Prime Minister is nominated by the Congress and Chief Ministers are nominated by Provincial Assemblies, but if for any reason these bodies fail to nominate someone in the required time, the King is required to make the appointment himself. He does this in Council, and those attending to advise him will include leaders of all parties in the relevant legislature, Speakers of the legislature and former ministers and speakers.

Inauguration of the Sovereign

When a new sovereign accedes to the throne, he or she is inaugurated and takes the Sovereign's Oath in a public meeting of the Council of State. This is the only time when the whole Council meets. There is no coronation.



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