Governance and the Governor
1. Agnidipto Tarafder ,Assistant Professor (Law) at the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, has analyses whether the post of the governor has outlived its utility.
2.Important functions of the governor include:
(i)monitoring the formation of the government
(ii)Reporting the breakdown of constitutional machinery in a State
(iii)Maintaining the chain of command between the Centre and the State
(iv)Sometimes, reserve his assent to Bills passed by the State Legislature
(v)Promulgate ordinances in the State.
(vi)Ensure the continuation of governance in the states, especially during times of
(vii)Act as a neutral arbiter and settle disputes informally among various strata of the
(viii)Act as the conscience keeper of the Community.
- The process of appointment of the Governor is the root cause for misuse of the position because it is usually a post offered to retired politicians. They are tuned to being faithful to the government of the day and not the constitution. They are also inclined towards a political ideology which makes it difficult for them to maintain the neutrality envisaged by the Constitution.
- Both the Sarkaria and MM Punchhi Commission recommended appointing a neutral “eminent” person as the Governor. But this could lead to a new problem : the intelligentsia behaving in a biased manner in order to gain favourable terms with the political parties.
- But on a positive note, there are examples of politicians doing justice to the post and being neutral without fear or favour.
- In B.P. Singhal v. Union of India, the Supreme Court considered article 156 and the arbitrary removal of the Governor. It recommended a fixed tenure which would encourage neutrality and fairness without fear of removal by the ruling government at the Centre.
- In the S.R Bommai case, the SC sought to curb the misuse of the discretionary power of the governors, following the Sarkaria Commission report. The governor can, on his/her discretion, recommend President’s rule and dismiss the governor in case of a breakdown of the Constitution of the State.
8.The court said that the material upon which the Governor relied to impose the President’s rule and the Governor’s report were open to judicial scrutiny. The SC could any time declare the Governor’s report mala fide and restore the dismissed government,
- The author suggests that the SC can even look into the appointments of thee Chief Minister and dismiss him/her if the appointment was malafide.
- The governor is seen as a link between the Centre and the States.The governor helps maintain the channel of communication between them.
- In India,the balance of power is tilted towards the Centre.
- The author suggests that going by the events in Goa, Manipur and Karnataka, the post of Governor has outlived its utility.
- There is a need to create effective checks and balances in order to prevent misuse of the discretionary power.
- Debates and discussions about the limitations of power of constitutional posts are required to keep our democracy vibrant.
- In this article he observes that it is enough to add checks and balances and not to remove the post of Governor.