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Rising Conflict among the roles of Chief Minister and the Governor in a State

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    17th Nov, 2022

Context

With the rise in instances of stand-offs between State governments and Governors, there is once again a debate on the role and conduct of Governors, the relation of Governors with the Centre and State government, and whether Chief Ministers should have a say in the appointment of Governors in their respective States.

So, let us answer these questions briefly.

About

What are the roles and responsibilities of a Governor? What is the significance of the post?

  • The Governor is essentially a link between the Centre and the States.
  • The Governor has various functions, such as addressing the joint session of the Assembly and the Budget session, and signing Bills that have been passed by the Assembly.
  • The Governor has both administrative and political functions to perform.

What do the Constitutional provisions say regarding appointment of the Governor?

  • The appointment and powers of government can be derived from Part VI of the Indian constitution.
  • Article 153 says that there shall be a Governor for each State. One person can be appointed as Governor for two or more States.
  • As per Article 155 of the Constitution, the Governor is appointed by the ‘President’.
  • The governor acts in 'Dual Capacity' as the Constitutional head of the state and as the representative.
  • He is the part of federal system of Indian polity and acts as a bridge between union and state governments.
  • Article 157 and Article 158 of the Constitution of India specify eligibility requirements for the post of governor. They say as governor must:
    • Be a citizen of India.
    • Be at least 35 years of age.
    • Not be a member of the either house of the parliament or house of the state legislature.
    • Not hold any office of profit.
  • The term of governor's office is normally 5 years but it can be terminated earlier by:
    • Dismissal by the president on the advice of the council of minister headed by the prime minister of the country.
    • Dismissal of governors without a valid reason is not permitted. However, it is the duty of the President to dismiss a governor whose acts are upheld by courts as unconstitutional and malafide.
    • Resignation by the governor.

Does the Chief Minister have a ‘say’ in appointing a Governor?

  • No, there is nowhere any procedure mentioned to involve Chief Minister in the appointment of the governor.
  • Due to its colonial legacy, this provision is not included so as to preserve the powers in single hands.

Implications associated:

Consequences

Leads to

  • Non-demarcation of powers and effects state machinery.
  • Make appointments of Governor more political
  • Other officials also impacted leading to single party domination in the State functioning.
  • Conflict between Governor and the Chief Minister.
  • Overruled decisions by the Governor.
  • Non-cooperating Council of Ministers.
  • More political appointments rather than based on calibre.
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