Addressing a conference recently, President Ram Nath Kovind said that “the Governor acts as the patron and guide of the state and plays an important role in the federal structure of the country.” However, in the last few days by the Governor of Maharashtra The action taken has brought the post of Governor in the country under scrutiny. In Maharashtra, the Raj Bhavan (the residence of the Governor) remained the center of controversy throughout the events of the oath taken by the Chief Minister and the resignation before proving majority. Significantly, the action taken by the Governor of Karnataka immediately after the Karnataka assembly elections earlier this year was also considered to be under judicial scrutiny on aspects of discretionary powers. In such a situation it becomes mandatory to consider the post of Governor and its relevance within the country.
Governor in India
- Just as the head of the nation is the President at the center, the head of state is the governor in the states.
- It is noteworthy that the Governor is the formal head of the state and all the proceedings of the state are done in his name.
- The Governor of each state is appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Union Cabinet of the country and it functions on the advice of the Chief Minister of the state.
- Normally, the term of the Governor is 5 years, but he can retire by resigning the President even before this period.
- Significantly, the Governor’s office has been the most controversial for the last five decades. The dispute started in 1959 with the dismissal of the Kerala government by the then Governor of Kerala due to political differences between the state and the central government.
- The dispute took its worst form in 1967 after the emergence of several non-Congress governments in the northern states.
Related constitutional provisions
- Part VI of the Indian Constitution deals with an important part of the federal structure of the country i.e. the states. Articles 152 to 237 of the Constitution refer to various provisions relating to states.
- According to Article 153, each state in the country will have a governor. Also a person can be appointed as the Governor of two or more states.
- According to Article 155, the Governor is appointed by the President.
- According to the Constitution, the Governor acts as the constitutional head and representative of the state. It is part of the federal system of Indian politics and acts as a bridge between the Union and State Governments.
- Necessary eligibility for the post of Governor has been prescribed in Article 157 and Article 158 of the Constitution, which are as follows:
- He should be an Indian citizen.
- He must be at least 35 years old.
- He is neither a member of any House of Parliament nor a state legislature.
- He should not hold any office of profit.
- It is important to note that Article 163 of the Constitution gives the Governor the power of discretion, that is, he is not bound to follow the advice of the Council of Ministers in discretionary work. The Governor enjoys the following discretionary powers:
- If a party does not get an absolute majority, the Governor can use his discretion in the selection of the Chief Minister.
- How much time should be given to a party to prove its majority also depends on the discretion of the Governor.
- He is not obliged to follow the advice of the Council of Ministers during the Emergency. At such times he serves as the representative of the President and becomes the de facto ruler of the state.
appointment of governer
- It is worth noting that the Governor is neither directly elected by the common people nor does any specially constituted electoral college elect it.
- On the contrary, the Governor of the States is directly appointed by the President, due to which he is also called the representative of the Central Government.
- At the time of framing the constitution, the drafting committee had left it to the Constituent Assembly that elections should be held for governors in the country or they should be judged.
- On this subject, the Constituent Assembly believed that elections should be held for the selection of governors, but the fear of conflict between the powers of the governor and the chief minister led to the system of nomination of governor in the state.
Role of governor
- The governor of each state plays an important role in operating a democratically elected government there. It is noteworthy that the role of the Governor is described from Articles 153 to 162 of the Indian Constitution.
- The role of the Governor of the state is more or less similar to the President of the country. The Governor generally performs the role of President for the states.
- The functions of the Governor are mainly divided into 4 parts (1) Executive (2) Legislative (3) Financial (4) Judicial.
Being the constitutional head of the state, the governor has to do many important tasks, including appointing the leader of the majority party as the chief minister of the state and assisting the chief minister in the formation of the state cabinet. Also, the appointment of the Advocate General and the Chairman and members of the State Public Commission is also done by the Governor.
The governor has the right to call the state assembly in any emergency and adjourn it at any time. He also has the right to call a joint sitting of the two houses. He has the right to repeal any bill to be passed in the State Legislative Assembly, sent back for review and sent to the President. This means that no bill in the state assembly can be passed without the permission of the governor. The Governor also has the task of issuing any ordinance during emergency in the state.
The Governor’s job is also to ensure that the annual financial statement (state-budget) is placed before the state legislature. Also, any money bill can be introduced in the Legislative Assembly only after its permission. The Governor also constitutes the State Finance Commission to review the financial condition of Panchayats and Municipalities after every five years.
The Governor’s judicial functions include deciding with the High Court of the state the appointment, transfer and promotion of district judges. He also appoints people associated with the State Judicial Commission.
Important decisions that shaped the discretionary powers of the Governor
- Sr Bommai vs Government of India
- There are many decisions of the Supreme Court which have had a direct impact on society and politics. One of these is the historic decision given on March 11, 1994, which undermines the power of the central government to dissolve governments in the states.
- Significantly, the Chief Minister of Karnataka S.R. His government was dismissed by the then Governor after being implicated in Bommai’s phone tapping case, after which the matter reached the Supreme Court.
- This decision of the Supreme Court put an end to the widespread misuse of Article 356 by the Central Government.
- In this judgment, the court said that “The decision of the majority of any state government should be in the Legislature instead of Raj Bhavan. The state government will have to give an opportunity to test power before imposing President’s rule.”
- Rameshwar Prasad vs. Government of India
- In this decision given in the year 2006, the five-member bench made it clear that if no party gets a clear majority in the assembly elections and some parties claim to form a government, then there is no problem, even before those elections. The parties may or may not have an alliance.
- Nabam Rebia vs. Vice President
- In the year 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that Article 163 is limited to the exercise of the discretion of the Governor and the action taken by him should not be arbitrary or hypothetical. The governor should have an argument for his action and it should be done with goodwill.
Recommendations given by various commissions and committees
- In 1966, the First Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) was constituted by the Central Government under the chairmanship of Morarji Desai, the Commission recommended in its report that a person should be appointed to the post of Governor from a particular party. Not connected.
- Rajamannar committee was formed in the year 1970 by the Government of Tamil Nadu to consider Center and State relations. It is worth mentioning that this committee recommended the deletion of Articles 356 and 357 from the Indian Constitution. According to Article 356 of the Constitution, if the state government is unable to act under the constitutional provisions then the center can directly establish control over the state. According to the constitution, it is announced after the Governor receives consent from the President. Also, the committee also recommended that states should be included in the appointment process of the governor.
- The Sarkaria Commission, constituted in 1980, submitted its 1600-page final report to the government in 1988, making 247 recommendations point-by-point regarding center-state relations. In Part-1 and Chapter-4 of the recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission regarding Center-State relations, it has been clarified that the post of Governor is an independent constitutional post, the Governor is neither subordinate to the Central Government nor his office It is the central government office.
Importance of Governor’s post
- Many experts believe that the post of Governor is an important link between the Center and the States, which helps in streamlining the federal structure of the country.
- Significantly, even in the smooth functioning of democracy, its important role cannot be denied.
- Since our country is divided into states, many experts advocate central supervision for the national interest, integrity and internal security of the country, which requires a governor.
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Governor’s Post controversy
- There have been many instances of misuse of the post of Governor in the country, it is generally believed that since the Governor is appointed by the Central Government, he acts on the instructions of the Center in the state and if the Center and the State have the same If the party does not have a government, a lot of problems can arise in the functioning of the state.
- In many cases, well-known politicians and former bureaucrats with a particular political ideology have been appointed as governors by the government. Significantly, as a result of this, the governors have also been seen favoring many times.
- In the same year, the Governor of Rajasthan was charged with violation of the Model Code of Conduct. Providing support to the ruling party is not required of any person holding a constitutional office, but still such incidents continue to emerge from time to time.
- The discretionary powers of the governor to invite the largest party or coalition to form a government after elections in the state have often been misused in favor of a particular political party.
- The removal of the governor from office even before the end of his term has been an important issue in recent times.
- The Governor cannot be removed on the ground that he does not keep pace with the policies and ideologies of the party in power at the Center.
- There is no doubt that major reforms are required in the provisions relating to the appointment of governors and their tenure.
- The recommendations of the Rajamnar Committee set up in the year 1970 should be implemented and the states should also be included in the process of appointment of governors. It is worth mentioning that the correction of the imbalance in the center-state equations can be started with such an improvement.
- Decisions taken by the governors should be brought under judicial scrutiny, including the sources used to reach that decision.
- The powers and privileges associated with the office of the Governor should be attached with accountability and transparency.
- An ‘agreed code of conduct’ should be developed approved by the State Governments, the Central Government, Parliament and State Legislatures to enable the Governor to discharge his duties successfully.
- The discretionary powers of the Governor should be curbed and there should be proper guidelines regarding the appointment of the Chief Minister.
The issue of the post of Governor has once again come to the center of the debate amidst allegations and support of the formation of a government and no party getting a majority in the Maharashtra Assembly elections. It can be said that the post of Governor is meaningless and the State Governments are in financial burden, but we should not ignore the important role played by the Governor. He acts as a bridge between the Central Government and the State Government. He helps in the formation of the State Government and also monitors the legality of the Bills to be passed in the State Legislative Assembly. Therefore, the need of the governor should not be ignored in the healthy functioning of democracy. However, this fact is also true that due to political interference, questions have been raised about this post in the recent past. Attention should be given to these controversies and challenges related to the post of Governor and efforts should be made to improve it by talking to all stakeholders.
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