Governor in India: Relevance
- GS 2: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
Governor UPSC: Context
- Recently, tensions between Kerala CM and the Governor again put into limelight the role of governor vis-à-vis state governments in the constitutional affairs.
Reason for tussle between state government and governor
- The appointment of those who have been politically active in the recent past as Governors and the partisan role they play as agents of the Centre is one of the critical reasons behind such issues.
- Some Governors seem to be using the discretionary space available to them in ‘aid and advice’ clause to keep regimes on tenterhooks.
- Constitutional issues: Constitution fixes no time-frame for the Governors to act.
- Moreover, Article 163 empowers the governor to choose what is in their discretion and what is not, with the courts being barred from inquiring into whether any advice and, if so, what advice was given.
Aid and advice
- In 1974, a constitutional bench of Supreme Court held that the President and Governors shall “exercise their formal constitutional powers only upon and in accordance with the advice of their Ministers save in a few well-known exceptional situations” — “situations” also illustratively listed.
- Yet, there is the extraordinary situation of some Governors not acting upon requests to grant clemency or assent to Bills.
- In one instance in Tamil Nadu, governor reserved the Bill for presidential assent more because of obvious conflict with a central law.
- Though Sarkaria commission retained the powers of Governor under Article 163, it is time to relook the provision.
- Few of the situations like identifying areas of discretion, fixing a time-frame for them to act, and making it explicit that they are obliged to go by Cabinet advice on dealing with Bills can be considered.
- Regarding Bills, it is clear that the Constituent Assembly passed the provision for Governors to return Bills for reconsideration only on the express assurance that they have no discretion at all.
- In addition, as suggested by the M.M. Punchhi Commission, Governors role with the office of Chancellor in universities should be ended.
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