Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: On the swearing-in day, the Naveen-led BJD government had to face a big embarrassment due to a major goof up with a Cabinet rank minister given the Minister of State (MoS) status, which is constitutionally invalid.

Though late in the evening yesterday, the State administration amended the constitutional error, but by then the big slip-up had become the talk of the town.

Earlier yesterday evening, the newly sworn-in ministers were allocated the ministerial portfolios. The press communiqué read that Cabinet rank minister Prafulla Mallik was entrusted with the departments of Steel & Mines, Works, and had also been given the MoS, Home.

As per the Constitution, Article 74 & 75 guides the rules governing the functions of Council of Ministers (CoM). The articles define a Cabinet minister as one who is the executive authority of a ministry; whereas MoS entails the duty of a subordinate to a cabinet minister. Simple put, a Cabinet minister is executive head of a department in State and ministry in Union government. Therefore, the Constitution prohibits an executive head to assume the subordinate role.

Realising the blooper, the State Administration hurriedly entrusted MoS (Independent) Dibya Shankar Mishra the MoS, Home.

However, the Parliamentary Affairs department and other top government official are tight lipped over the issue.