Kerala Governor slams attempt to control Raj Bhavan
- Kerala Governor appeared to persist in pressing a debatably competing course of action against the ruling front by forewarning that any governmental action to “control the Raj Bhavan would lead to a constitutional crisis”.
- Governor had put the government on tenterhooks by tentatively withholding his assent to the policy address for the next fiscal.
- Articles 153 to 162 of the Indian Constitution describe the Governor's appointment, powers, and everything else pertaining to the position of Governor.
- The Governor's job is quite similar to that of India's President.
- The Governor has the same powers as the President, but he or she is in charge of the state.
- The Governor serves as the executive head of a state, and his duties are similar to those of the President of India.
- The Governor is said to have a dual role.
- He is the constitutional head of state, and he is bound by the advise of his council of ministers.
- He serves as an important connection between the central and state government.
Noteworthy Constitutional provisions
- Article 163: It talks about the discretionary power of governor.
- Article 256: The executive power of the Union shall extend to the giving of such directions to a State as may appear to the Government of India to be necessary for that purpose.
- Article 257: The executive power of the Union shall also extend to the giving of directions to a State as to the construction and maintenance of means of communication declared in the direction to be of national or military importance:
- Article 355: It entrusts the duty upon Union to protect the states against “external aggression” and “internal disturbance” to ensure that the government of every State is carried on in accordance with the provisions of Constitution.
- Article 356: In the event that a state government is unable to function according to constitutional provisions, the Central government can take direct control of the state machinery. The state's governor issues the proclamation, after obtaining the consent of the President of India.
- Article 357: It deals with Exercise of legislative powers under Proclamation issued under Article 356 by the central government.
- There have been several instances of the Governor's position being abused, generally at the request of the Centre's ruling party. The procedure of appointment has been the root of the problem in most cases.
- Governments have nominated politicians and former bureaucrats who identify with a certain political philosophy as Governors in various occasions.
- The governor's discretionary powers to ask the leader of the largest party/alliance to form the government after an election have frequently been abused to favour one political party over another.
- In the recent past, the arbitrary removal of the Governor before the end of his term has also been a major concern.
Supreme Court cases and recommendations
- In the Nabam Rebia case (2016), the Supreme Court found that the Governor's power under Article 163 is restricted and that his actions should not be arbitrary or whimsical. It must be a rational decision based on good faith and balanced with prudence.
- According to the Administrative Reforms Commission (1968), the governor's report on the president's rule should be impartial, and the governor should use his own judgement in this respect.
- Articles 356 and 357 of the Indian constitution were suggested to be removed by the Rajamannar Committee in 1971. Article 356 of the Constitution should be amended to include the essential protections against arbitrary action by the ruling party at the centre.
- The Sarkaria Commission (1988) recommended that Article 356 be utilised only in exceptional circumstances where it is imperative to restore the state's constitutional apparatus.
- Articles 355 and 356 should be amended, according to the ""Punchhi committee."" It aimed to preserve states' interests by preventing the Centre from abusing them.
- It is equally necessary for the smooth operation of a democratic government, the governor to behave judiciously, impartially, and effectively while using his discretion and personal judgement.
- An agreed-upon 'Code of Conduct,' endorsed by the state governments, the central government, the parliament, and the state legislatures, should be developed to allow the governor to successfully perform his constitutional duties.
- The ""process for the appointment of governors should be clearly written out,"" as well as the ""conditions of appointment,"" which must provide a definite tenure for the governor so that he or she is not constantly threatened with removal by the central government.
- It is proposed that the Governors' exercise of ""discretionary powers"" be ""guided by healthy and democratic traditions.""
- The governor's role is critical to the proper functioning of constitutional democracy. He must not associate himself with any political philosophy. To ensure a free and fair election in a democracy, the virtue of impartiality must be withheld.