Time to Revive the Role of Governor

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On Thursday, honourable Supreme Court gave two important verdict regarding Delhi and Maharashtra. While both the decisions are of different nature, but the apex court has shown its concern to safeguard the constitutional process. At the same time, it has raised eyebrows once again over the Narendra Modi government’s intent to control everything and act as a monarch. Instead of the federal system of governance, the Narendra Modi government wants everything to be controlled by centre therebe disrupting the constitutional validity of state governments.

If the elected government cannot control the officials, how will it fulfill its collective responsibility to the people? Delhi’s Kejriwal government has the authority over transfer-posting of officers. He should have the administrative system in the elected government. With this order and remark, the balance of power has been restored between the Delhi government and the Lieutenant Governor. This will avoid future confusions.

The second important judgment of the court has come with regard to Maharashtra, according to which Uddhav Thackeray cannot be reinstated as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra as he had voluntarily resigned from the post without facing the floor test. In this way Chief Minister Eknath Shinde will get a chance to retain his post and his government. The Supreme Court also rejected Uddhav Thackeray’s request to restore the government as Thackeray chose to resign rather than face a floor test in the Assembly. But the court also said that the decision to call for a floor test by then Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, which eventually brought down the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government, was not legal.

Significantly, there was a Mahavikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra, a coalition of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, in which Uddhav Thackeray was the Chief Minister. But last year on June 21, 16 MLAs rebelled in Shiv Sena, Eknath Shinde was the leader of this rebellion. On June 24, the Shiv Sena demanded the cancellation of the membership of these 16 MLAs to the then Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Narhari Jirwal. Notices were sent to these 16 MLAs, but then Uddhav Thackeray resigned. After this, Eknath Shinde’s faction formed the government with the BJP. Before forming the government with the BJP, the rebel MLAs were moved around from Assam to Goa. Obviously, all the tricks were used to come to power and in this the then Governor played an important role, who actually acted like an agent of the Modi government, ignoring the constitutional obligations.

The court has made important remarks on this. The apex court strongly criticizing the then governor Koshyari for taking decisions that helped the Shinde faction, he said he had made a “mistake” in concluding that Uddhav Thackeray had lost the support of the majority of MLAs. The court said that the exercise of discretion by the Governor was not in accordance with the Constitution. If the Speaker and the government bypass the no-confidence motion, it would have been appropriate to call for a floor test without the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. The court also made an important point that neither the Constitution nor the law empowers the Governor to enter the political arena and play a role in inter-party or intra-party disputes. There is nothing in the letters relied upon by the Governor to indicate that the dissident MLAs want to withdraw support from the government.

Uddhav Thackeray and the rest of his party may be disappointed with the decision that things did not go in their favor. Had Uddhav Thackeray not resigned, perhaps the tide could have been turned. But now at least the real face of BJP has been exposed that how it is misusing constitutional posts for power. In all the non-BJP ruled states in the country, there are frequent reports of clashes between the governor and the elected governments, which shows disrespect to the constitution.

Now the time has come that all the political parties of the country should brainstorm on the issue that in future no Governor should work as an agent of the Centre. The strength of democracy lies in the fact that the mandate should be respected at all costs.

Disclaimer :- This post is independently published by the author. Infeed neither backs nor assumes liability for the opinions put forth by the author.

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