The Logical Indian Crew

Why Are States Demanding Removal Of Governor's Office? Here's All You Need To Know

The Kerala government, led by Pinarayi Vijayan, demanded that the Centre empowers the state legislatures to remove Governors from their posts if they fail to uphold constitutional values and thwart criminal prosecution measures.

The role of a governor in Indian politics has been a disputable issue for years now. After the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) took to the centre stage in 2014, the Governor's position has long been debated by several states in India. The contentious issue has once again drawn attention after the Communist Party of India (Marxist) state secretary Kodiyen Balakrishnan questioned the constitutional need of the Governor's position.

Why The Debate Stirred Up Again?

The political programme for CPI(M) also mentions that if states need to have governors, then the Constitution should empower the state legislatures to elect them via the electoral college. The State Secretary's statement assumes significance because of the Kerala government's charged dispute with the Governor's office over several issues, including appointments in universities and pension for the personal staff of ministers.

The Kerala government has demanded that the Centre empower the states to remove their Governors from their official position if they fail to uphold the constitutional values, discharge chancellor duties, and thwart criminal prosecution measures.

The Cabinet led by CM Pinarayi Vijayan has sought national legislation to introduce a resolution in the state assembly demanding the dismissal of an 'erring' governor from his position. Earlier, the government had mentioned the same in the Law Secretary's report to the Commission.

The state government had suggested that the Centre divested the Governor of the statutory position, including Chancellor. Moreover, it also suggested that pursuing active politics should not take away an individual's opportunity to be considered for Governor from a person.

Position Of Governor In The Constitution

In India, the President and the Governor are often regarded as rubber stamps for being titular heads in the state. Article 153 of the Indian Constitution specifies a governor's position in a state. Therefore, the Governor has been accorded a nominal status, whereas a set of ministers, headed by the Chief Minister, run the political affairs in the state. The Governor of the state is required to exercise his power, either legitimately or through the advice of Cabinet ministers. As per Article 155 of the Constitution, the President appoints the Governor under his seal and warrant.

However, behind the curtains, the Central government files nominations of candidates for the position of Governor. Then the President takes a call, after which the Governor is free to act on his own will and wisdom for the betterment of the society.

However, it has often been contested that the state's Governor acts in a 'dual capacity', first of being the executive head of the state, even though just a figurehead. Secondly, he acts as an agent or a representative of the central government. The second role of the Governor creates friction between his position and that of the central government, more so when a Party governs the state in Opposition to the Central governing party.

Point Of Contention For Most States

The most considerable discomfort of the state governments is that a Governor is not elected by anybody and is still perceived as an 'integral' part of the state. The position of the Governor in a state is often considered a shadow of the President at the Central level. However, a President for the country is elected by the members of the legislative assembly and the members of the Parliament. On the other hand, the Governor is just chosen out of the nominations filed by the central government.

Moreover, the state government has no power to overwrite or overrule the orders of the Governor, and neither is there a procedure for the impeachment of the nominal head in the state. More or less, the Governor has no accountability to anyone, apart from the people who appointed him.

Previous Instances Of Governor-Government Conflicts

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Bannerjee had recently blocked Governor Jagdeep Dhankar on Twitter. She had cited that she was forced to do so because of the 'unethical and the unconstitutional statements' made by the latter and accused him of treating other government officials like 'his servants'.

The first instance after independence, when the Governor was accused of 'misappropriate conduct' was in 1952. Then-Governor of the Madras, Sri Prakasa, invited C Rajagopalachari to form a government, even though he was not a member of the assembly and had not participated in the elections.

Several instances of misconduct from the Governor's office emerged in the decades that followed. In 2013, then Chief Minister Narendra Modi from Gujarat was at loggerheads with Governor Kamla Beniwal after she returned the controversial Gujarat Lokayukta Commission Bill 2013, even though the state government had passed it with a clear majority. Not so surprisingly, Beniwal was then removed from her position in Gujarat and transferred to handle the same office in the eastern state of Mizoram.

After that, another such incident occurred when in 2018, Congress lost yet another state despite winning more seats than any other party in the state elections. In the 50-seat assembly, Congress won 21 seats, followed by NPP 19, and BJP and UDP, two and six, respectively. However, governor Ganga Prasad invited Conrad Sangma of the NPP to prove his majority. Sangma's NPP formed an alliance with UDP, PDF, HSPDP, and the BJP to form the government in the state.

'Governor Would Have No Powers Of His Own'

The architect of the Indian Constitution, Babasaheb BR Ambedkar, had mentioned the power of the governors in several debates in the Parliament and had said that the Governor would have no powers of his own. However, he would have duties to perform.

While amending the Indian Constitution and abolishing the position of Governor altogether might be a distant dream for the political parties that are contesting for the same. However, it might be the right decision to allow the members of the state government to elect their Governor to duplicate the nominal head's position at the Centre.

The fact that conflicts are coming up in the states that are governed by parties other than the party at the Centre is a clear indication of how the position of a governor is being misused in a democracy for personal or political gains.

Also Read: India's Praggnanandhaa Defeats 5-Time World Champion Carlsen At Airthings Masters

Contributors Suggest Correction
Writer : Ratika Rana
Editor : Shiva Chaudhary
Creatives : Ratika Rana

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