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Governor: Politicisation Of The Office

Dr BR Ambedkar said, "However good a Constitution may be, if those who are implementing it are not good, it will prove to be bad. However bad a Constitution may be, if those implementing it are good, it will prove to be good." More than any other constitutional position, it applies to governors.

As a lynchpin, the governor has to do bridge building. Governor is like a long arm of union with an iron fist and velvet gloves. He has to communicate the state's aspirations to the union and at the same time bring national perspective at the state level.


The governor is the constitutional head of the state and the chief executive head of the state whose powers are enshrined in Part VI of the constitution. The governor also acts as an agent of the central government.


  • Article 153: there shall be a governor for each state, the same person can be appointed as a governor for more than one state.


  • Article 154: the executive power of the state is vested in the governor.

Background:

According to Paul Brass, India's Constitution was conceived not in an atmosphere of hope, but of fear and trepidation. Following independence, the real and pressing challenge was to unite India, as partition and secessionist challenges persisted. As a result, the framers of the Constitution expressed concern that it could result in the Balkanization of India. Thus, the governor's institution was supposed to be critical in maintaining order and checking secessionist trends in states.

What Permits The Union Government To Abuse The Office Of Governor?


Governors are appointed by the President on the advice of the Union executive. Additionally, the constitution contains no specific qualifications, leaving governor appointments to the sole discretion of the union executive.


Removal System: Often, the governor is referred to as an "agent of the union," as he serves at the pleasure of the union government. The President, in effect the central government, has the power to remove a Governor at any time without giving him or her any reason, and without granting an opportunity to be heard.


Governor's discretionary powers: Article 163 states that the governor shall be assisted and advised by a Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister, except in situations where the constitution requires the governor to act in his discretion.


Additionally, it states that the governor's use of these powers is entirely discretionary and shall not be challenged in court on the grounds that the governor should have used or should not have used his discretionary power.



Reforms Recommended so far:


Appointment System


  • Rajamannar Committee: It recommended that the governor be appointed only after consultation with the chief minister and that if the chief minister is uneasy, he should not be appointed.


  • The Punchhi Commission recommended that the governor be appointed through the interstate council's platform. Additionally, it held that a list of eminent persons can be compiled through consultation and that when vacancies occur, individuals from the list may be appointed. Additionally, it has been suggested that rather than leaving qualifications such as eminent person and no active political background to conventions, it is preferable to include them explicitly in the constitution.


  • The Governor should be eminent in some field and from outside the state, according to the Sarkaria Commission. He should be a disinterested figure with no strong political ties, or he should have stayed out of politics in recent years. Additionally, he should be a non-member of the ruling party.

System of Removal


  • Supreme court, in B.P. Singhal vs Union of India 2010 case, held that: There is no need to change pleasure doctrine, Governor can be removed and as when the union government thinks. Also, there is no need to give an explanation to the governor or allow the governor to present his case. However, otherwise should be allowed to complete the term ordinarily, until and unless there were compelling reasons for removal. Further, the action of the executive can be challenged on the ground of malafide intention.


  • Sarkaria Commission: In the process of removal, the state government may be informed and consulted


  • Punchhi Commission (2010) recommended that the phrase “during the pleasure of the President” should be deleted from the Constitution because a Governor should not be removed at the whim of the central government; instead, he or she should be removed only by a resolution of the state legislature.


Conclusion:


True to the spirit of federalism enshrined in the Constitution, the Centre should function in tandem with the States to address inter-State disparities and the Governors should work harmoniously with the State governments.


It becomes an urgent necessity for the depoliticisation of the post of Governor amidst arbitrariness when the office of Governor lacks checks and balances and the will of the people is brutally trampled upon and the civil society is impelled to frame the Juvenalian question: “Who will govern the governors?”


It is also critical for the smooth operation of a democratic government that the governor acts prudently, impartially, and efficiently while exercising his discretion and personal judgement.

The governor's function is critical to the constitutional democracy's success. He must abstain from any political ideology. It is necessary to preserve the virtue of impartiality.


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