States should have the power to recall governor, Kerala tells Centre
- The Kerala government questioned the constitutional need for the Governor’s office.
What are the arguments made by the Kerala government?
- The Kerala government has repeatedly demanded that national legislation should empower States to elect them via a representative electoral college.
- The Cabinet sought national legislation to introduce a resolution in the Assembly demanding the dismissal of an “erring” Governor from the post.
- The government suggested that the Center divest the Governor of statutory posts, including the chancellor.
- The Center should keep the State in the loop while appointing Governors.
- It should empower legislatures to impeach Governors if lawmakers find them wanting constitutionally.
- The Center should limit the discretionary powers of the Governor on legislative matters.
Different Controversies Related To Governor
- Appointment: The apparent politicization of the governor’s appointment process has been extensively criticized. It is observed that ex-politicians with significant ties with the ruling party in the Center are generally appointed as the head of the states.
- Tenure: The Governor remains in office during the pleasure of the President who is bound to follow the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. This effectively means that the tenure of Governor is at the mercy of the ruling party and can be removed if she refuses to act according to the wishes of the Center.
- Discretionary Powers: Article 163 of the Constitution of India recognises the discretionary powers of the Governor. This power has been widely misused by successive Union governments in India. The report of the Governor has been used to dismiss the popularly elected state governments in the states.
Supreme Court’s Decisions Limiting Governor’s Discretion
- P. Singhal v. Union of India 2010: In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that the President can remove the Governor anytime she is pleased, without assigning any reason for the removal whatsoever.
- However, this power should not be used arbitrarily without having any compelling reasons for removal.
- Nabam Rebia v. Dy. Speaker 2016: In this case, the SC ruled that the Governor can not summon the House at his discretion unless the CM has lost the majority.
- It held that the Governor’s power under Article 174 is subject to the aid and the advice of the Cabinet.
- The court also observed that Article 163(2) does nor confer absolute discretionary power upon the Governor and in no way gives her the right to turn her office into an “all-pervading super constitutional authority.”