Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Rajasthan crisis puts governors’ powers in the spotlight:

Topics Covered: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

Rajasthan crisis puts governors’ powers in the spotlight:

Context:

A governor’s powers and role in the state legislature’s affairs are back in focus amid the political crisis in Rajasthan.

Congress legislators backing Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot have accused the Governor of acting under pressure.

  • But, Is the Governor bound by the advice of the chief minister-led council of ministers when it comes to convening the assembly session and to what extent can the governor exercise his discretion?

What does the Constitution say?

The Constitution’s Articles 163 and 174 are relevant in the context of the governor’s powers to convene the state assembly.

  1. Article 163 says there shall be a CM-led council of ministers to aid and advise the governor except when he is required, under the Constitution, to exercise functions in his/her discretion.
  2. Article 174 says the governor “shall from time to time summon the House of the state…as he thinks fit but six months shall not intervene between its last sitting in one session and the date appointed for first sitting in the next session”.

What has the Supreme Court said in this regard?

The 2016 Supreme Court judgment in the Nabam Rebia v Deputy Speaker held that the governor’s power to summon, prorogue and dissolve the House should be only on the advice of the council of ministers. And not at his own.

  • The judgment, however, also held that if the governor has reasons to believe the council of ministers has lost the confidence of the House, he can ask the chief minister to prove the majority.

Conclusion:

The Governor has no discretionary powers in summoning a session of the Assembly, and he or she is bound to act according to the aid and advice of the CM and the Council of Ministers.

But, the Governor can require the CM and the Council of Ministers to seek a trust vote if he or she has reasons to believe that they have lost the confidence of the Assembly.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of Articles 163 and 174.
  2. Is the Governor bound by the advice of the chief minister-led council of ministers when it comes to convening the assembly session?
  3. Who appoints Chief Minister?
  4. Discretionary powers of Governor.
  5. Tenure of governor.

Mains Link:

Write a note on the discretionary powers of a governor of state.

Sources: the Hindu.