(Last Updated on : 22/11/2010)
Business of Council Meetings is Chapter XV of Book I in Arthashastra. Business of council meetings were taken by the king after he has gained the firm holds of affection of not only his own people but of the foreign parties as well. The council meetings focussed on the working of all the ministries with various charges, the profit which state earns and the dangers which the state faces. Business of Council of Meetings declares that all kinds of administrative measures are preceded by deliberations in a well-formed council. The subject matter of a council shall be entirely secret, and deliberations in it shall be so carried out with complete secrecy. The disclosure of counsels may be detected by observing changes in the attitude and countenance of envoys, ministers, and masters. Change in conduct will be observed with change in attitude.
Business of Council Meetings takes full care in maintaining the secrecy of the procedures and keeps full vigilance on the officers who take part in deliberation of it. This had been a procedure which began at the time of Maurya Empire
and continued till date. Kautilya's business of council meetings had been pioneer in developing some administrative excellence which remained permanent in Indian administration since ages.
Business of Council Meetings include means to carry out work, command of plenty of men and wealth allotment of time and place, remedies against dangers and final success. These are the five deliberates which are included in the council meetings. The king accordingly is advised to consult at least two ministers before drawing a conclusion as advice of one minister may till to one side. Kautilya
advises the king to remain as much unbiased as possible by taking the advice of the council of ministers. In order to seek the advice of the ministers the king can ask them either collectively or individually or shall create an assembly with council of ministers as its members. According to Kautilya it shall possess as many members as will be required for the dominion. The ministers shall have to consider all that concerns both the parties of the king as well as his enemy, have to set themselves to start the work that has not begun, has to complete what is incomplete, has to improve what has been accomplished, and shall have enforce strict obedience of orders.
Business of Council Meetings then empowers the king who has to supervise the work of those who are near to him directly and by sending writ to those who are far away. This also includes the creation of Mantriparishad - a group of one thousand ministers who are considered as the thousand eyes of the king who shall be consulted by the king in the time of emergency and advice the king as what is to be done by him at the time of crisis. They shall also be required to suggest the best possible way to reach success at a time of crisis.
Thus, Business of Council Meetings are mainly focussed to organise the working of the ministry under king's personal supervision which needs to be maintained with complete secrecy .This requires the expert advises of the prime minister as well as council of ministers as these group of people are supposed to be highly educated and well versed with the sciences of life which will guide the king to success. The aim of the council meetings is, thus, to know all the secrets of the enemy while keep one's own deliberations under strict vigilance maintaining complete and inaccessible secrecy.