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

  • Published
    11th 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 relationship 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 post of Governor is actually inherited from the past from the times of the Mughals. 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 the 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 a 'Dual Capacity' as the Constitutional head of the state and as the representative.
  • He is part of a 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 a governor must:
    • Be a citizen of India.
    • Be at least 35 years of age.
    • Not be a member of either house of the parliament or the 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 ministers 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 the 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.

Arguments in support of the involvement of CM in the appointment of the Governor:

  • The Sarkaria Commission, set up in 1983 to examine the Centre-State relationship on various points, felt that the Chief Minister should be consulted before appointing the Governor, for the proper working of the parliamentary system.
  • The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution said, “It would be appropriate to suggest a committee comprising the Prime Minister, the Home Minister, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, and the Chief Minister of the State concerned to select a Governor.

Implications associated:

Consequences

Leads to

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