Article 153, Supreme Court, Article 200, National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, Cooperative Federalism, Chancellor, Inter-State Council, Punchhi Commission, 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission, Sarkaria Commission.
Constitutional Provisions Related to the Governor, Issues Related to the Post of Governor in India, Reforms Proposed by Various Commissions.
With the rise in instances of tension, and even stand-offs, between State governments and Governors, there is once again a debate on the role of the Raj Bhavan.
Governor is a nominal executive head of the state. He forms an important part of the state executive where he acts as the chief executive head. He acts as a bridge between the Centre and the States and is considered as one of the pivotal parts of cooperative governance.
Since 1858, when India was administered by the British Crown. Provincial Governors were agents of the crown, functioning under the supervision of the Governor-General. With the Government of India Act, of 1935, the governor was now to act in accordance with the advice of Ministers of a province’s legislature but retained special responsibilities and discretionary power.
Currently, under the parliamentary and cabinet systems of governance adopted by India, the Governor was envisaged to be the Constitutional Head of a State.
The Governor has various functions, such as addressing the joint session of the Assembly and the Budget session and signing Bills that have been passed by the Assembly. The Governor has administrative and political functions to perform.
Issues Related to the Post of Governor in India:
- Act as a Centre’s Agent: National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution held that the Governor owes his appointment and his continuation to the Union. Apprehensions exist that he will follow instructions given by the Union Council of Ministers. This goes against the constitutionally mandated neutral seat and has resulted in bias.
- Misuse of Discretionary Powers: Governor’s recommendation for President’s Rule in a state has not always been based on ‘objective material’, but on political whim or fancy.
- Conflicts between the Governor and the State government: The constitutional mandate to act on the advice of the council of ministers is not clearly distinguished from the statutory authority as chancellor. For Ex, there was a recent appointment of a Vice Chancellor in a university by the Kerala Governor, bypassing government nominations.
- Removal of Governors: Having no written grounds or procedures for removing governors, several times governors were removed arbitrarily.
- Post’s impartiality and non-partisanship: The convention of consulting the Chief Minister before appointing the Governor is often ignored.
- No guidelines for the exercise of the governor’s powers in certain cases: There are no guidelines for the exercise of the governor’s powers in case of the appointment of a Chief Minister or the dissolving of the Assembly. Also, there is no limit set for how long a Governor can withhold assent to a Bill.
Reforms Proposed by Various Commissions:
Therefore, there has to be cooperation and coordination between the State government and the Governor, irrespective of their political loyalties. The majority and vote of confidence have to be decided on the floor of the House. The Governor is supposed to be a friend, philosopher, and guide. He should help from the back for sorting out issues and resolving disputes, even between political parties. The Governor should also advise the Centre on what is happening and what needs to be done.
Getting the Chief Minister involved in the process of governor selection is not right. The Governor cannot be made to feel that the Chief Minister was one of those responsible for his selection; the Governor has to be above the Chief Minister, be independent, be able to function in a nonpartisan manner, and not be beholden to the ruling party or to the Chief Minister.
There is a need to devise a ‘Code of Conduct’ that should define certain ‘norms and principles’ that should guide the governor’s discretion and constitutional mandate. Discretion must be a choice dictated by reason, actuated by good faith and tempered by caution.
Question for Practice:
Which of the following are the discretionary powers given to the Governor of a State? (2014)
- Sending a report to the President of India for imposing the President’s rule
- Appointing the Ministers
- Reserving certain bills passed by the State Legislature for consideration of the President of India
- Making the rules to conduct the business of the State Government
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 1 and 3 only
(c) 2, 3 and 4 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4
- Whether the Supreme Court Judgment (July 2018) can settle the political tussle between the Lt. Governor and elected government of Delhi? Examine. (2018)
- Discuss the essential conditions for exercise of the legislative powers by the Governor. Discuss the legality of re-promulgation of ordinances by the Governor without placing them before the Legislature. (2022)
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