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Reining in the governor

  • Published
    21st Nov, 2023

Context

Recently, 10 bills to state legislature despite SC’s intervention by Tamil Nadu’s Governor.

Governors' Unchecked Power

  • Abuse of Authority: Recent actions by Tamil Nadu's governor, R N Ravi, spotlight governors' unchecked authority, obstructing state decisions without just cause, hampering the democratic process.
  • Structural Imbalance: The fundamental distinction in the appointment and removal mechanisms for governors and presidents perpetuates governors' susceptibility to Union government influence, creating an accountability gap.
  • Constituent Assembly's Warning: Constituent Assembly debates foresaw issues with governors' powers, highlighting concerns about their unrestrained authority and alignment with the Centre, revealing unaddressed vulnerabilities.

Navigating Governance Reform

  • Caution Against Abolition: A measured approach is required, refraining from abrupt abolition. Complete elimination risks disrupting the parliamentary democracy framework, necessitating careful consideration of alternatives.
  • Alternatives for Accountability: Emphasis should be on alternative measures, like judicial oversight and constitutional reforms, to establish governors' accountability to state legislatures and curtail unilateral power.
  • Democracy Strengthening: Be it through judicial checks or constitutional amendments, reining in colonial remnants in the governor's role becomes paramount for fortifying India's democratic and federal structure.

 

Ensuring Democratic Integrity

  • Judicial Safeguards: Recent instances of judicial intervention against governors' actions indicate a positive trend. However, sustained reliance on the judiciary for redressal highlights the need for a more robust framework.
  • Constitutional Reforms: A compelling case exists for constitutional amendments to align the governor's role with democratic principles. Instituting mechanisms akin to the president's accountability to the Union Parliament can mitigate power imbalances.
  • Preserving Federalism: Addressing governors' overreach is vital not only for democratic integrity but also for preserving federalism. A recalibration of the governor's powers ensures a more equitable distribution of authority between the Union and states.
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