Major Issues Around Office of Governor

Office of Governor as statutory head of the state and nominee of the president has been controversial since enactment of the constitution itself. The conflict is basically on five points:

The very appointment of Governor

As per Article 155, governor should be appointed (not elected) from amongst persons of high status with eminence in public. The elected government at the state is not even consulted while making appointment of the Governors. Further successive governments have reduced this important constitutional office to a sinecure and resting place for loyal and retired / about to retire politicians apart from docile bureaucrats.

The appointment and dismissal of the Chief Minister by Governor

Governor appoints Chief Minister, other ministers, Advocate General, Chairmen and members of the State Public Service Commission in the state. After elections in the state, there is a convention to invite the largest party to form government in the state. This convention has been flouted many times at the whim of the governor.

The consent by governor on laws passed by state assembly

Under article 220 of the constitution, the Governor may or may not consent to the bill passed by legislature of the state. He may refer it for consideration of the President. Although, he cannot withhold the assent if a bill is re-passed by assembly; but governor has discretionary power to reserve any bill for President’s signature. When president sends back the bill to assembly and assembly passes it again, it will again go to President but president can still withhold assent (Article 201). In this way, this power can be used by Governor to just put a bill in state of limbo for a long time.

The relation between Governor and Central Government

Since the report of Governor becomes the basis of imposing emergency in a state under article 356, the ruling party at centre would like to appoint as many as possible persons of its own party as governors of states.

Removal of the Governor

Article 156 says that the governor will hold office during the pleasure of the President for five years. President works on aid and advice of the Council of Ministers under Article 74. In effect it is the central government that appoints and removes the Governors. The governor has no security of tenure and no fixed term of office.

Thus, relationship between centre and governor of state usually turn sour when the person holding the office of governor is not from ruling dispensation at the centre.

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