Proroguing of West Bengal Assembly

The West Bengal Governor prorogued the assembly using his powers under Article 174 of the constitution.

What is Proroguing?

It is discontinuing the session of parliament or state legislative assembly. This does not involve dissolving the assembly.

Article 174

The article provides powers to the governor to summon, prorogue and dissolve the legislative assembly. The governor can do so only based on conditions as mentioned in Article 163.

Article 163

The Governor should act based on the advice of the chief minister and the council of ministers.

Supreme Court on the issue

The 2016 the Arunachal Pradesh case was based on this issue. The dispute was between Deputy Speaker of Arunachal Pradesh and Nabam Rebia and Bamang Felix. The SC pronounced that power does not lie in the hands of governor totally. It should be exercised with the aid of council of ministers.

Justification

The governor is not an elected member. He is nominated by the president. The nominated personalities shall not override the representatives of the people. The governor shall not over rule state legislature. This is because the constitution was created based on the principle of ministerial responsibility.

Discretionary powers of Governor

Article 163 (1): It limits the discretionary powers of governor. The governor shall act only in cases where the constitution specifies that he shall act on his independent mind.

The governor shall use his discretionary power under Article 174 only if the Chief Minister of the State has lost support from the house.

Article 169

The Parliament shall abolish Legislative Council of a state by law. However, this happens only if the legislative assembly of the state passes a resolution.

Article 175

The Governor shall address the state legislative assembly and the council. He shall send messages to the houses.

Article 176

The Governor shall address the houses during their commencement.

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