Bad and ugly – A Governor’s departure from convention has set off unsavoury events

Source: The post is based on the following articles

“Bad and ugly – A Governor’s departure from convention has set off unsavoury events” published in The Hindu on 11th January 2023.

“The Guvs Are Off – Governors in some opposition-ruled states are keeping bills pending for long, violating constitutional spirit” published in The Times of India on 11th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary.

Relevance: About the role of the governor in the assembly.

News: Recently, the Tamil Nadu governor walked out of the Tamil Nadu assembly and also skipped a few portions of the government pamphlet. The other substantive issue is the governor also sitting on bills passed by the legislature.

About the role of the governor in passing bills

Article 200 stipulates that a governor shall “declare” that he/she is giving assent to a bill or withholding consent. Governors can forward a bill to the President for consideration or return a bill with a message suggesting changes. But if the house passes the bill again, the governor has to give assent.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that legislative power of governors is extremely limited and that governors are bound by the aid and advice of the cabinet.

However, there is constitutional and judicial silence on how long a governor can keep a bill pending.

Can the governor skip a part of the government text?

According to the constitutional convention, the President or the Governor should not depart from the text, as it is nothing but a statement of policy of the elected government.

Read more: Kerala Government’s Bills to remove the Governor as Chancellor of State Universities
What should be done?

The events highlight the consequences of a confrontationist attitude on the part of constitutional functionaries. So, in the longer term, the role of the Governor in the country’s constitutional scheme needs a thorough overhaul.

The governor is a key intermediary in the Centre-state relationship. The Constitution gives Parliament and the Union government the upper hand when laws of the state clash with those of the Centre. The governors should aid in maintaining this status quo.

Read more: The Governor is under the Constitution, not above it

 

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