SOURCE: Indian Express
- Prelims: Indian Polity and Governance
- Mains: Constitution of India – significant provision; Structure, organisation and functioning of the Executive.
- Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan’s standoff with the elected government on a number of matters. These include Governor’s views on appointment of vice chancellors, open criticism of the government, seeking the dismissal of Finance Minister among others. This brings focus on the role of Governor.
- The Constitution envisages a minimal and apolitical role for the Governor. The Governor’s office cannot assume the role of Opposition.
INSIGHTS ON THE ISSUE
- Office of Governor: Role and Concerns
Key areas of concern
The Governor is not merely the constitutional head of the state but also the representative of the centre. The position of Governor was envisaged as being apolitical. However, the role of Governor has become a contentious issue in centre-state relations for decades.
Some of the examples of Governor’s confrontation with the elected state government:
- Maharashtra: Failure to fix date for Speaker’s election
- Tamil Nadu: Bill to scrap NEET was reserved for President’s consent
- Rajasthan: Non-acceptance of council of minister’s advice
The mode of appointment, tenure and removal procedure coupled with discretionary powers is what creates federal friction.
Since the role of the Governor has resulted in controversy, many have suggested the abolition of position of Governor. However, give the role Governor plays, it is not practicable. Rather, it requires reform.
The solution lies in changing the mode of appointment, tenure and removal procedure and to limit the use of discretionary powers of the Governor. Various committee recommendations and directions of the Supreme Court in this regard can be followed to ensure neutrality and apolitical nature of the Governor’s office.
As Dr. BR Ambedkar pointed out working of the Constitution depends not on the constitutional position but on who holds it. Governor’s loyalty must be towards the Constitution and discharge duties in accordance with spirit of the Constitution.
QUESTION FOR PRACTICE
“The Governor under the Constitution has no functions which he can discharge by himself; no functions at all.” Comment. [200 words, 10 marks]