Indian Express Editorial Analysis- 22 February 2024

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Indian Express Editorial Analysis- 22 February 2024


Topic: GS2 – Polity – Executive –  Functions and Responsibilities 
When considering the facts of the constitutional functions and powers of the governor, this topic is pertinent to both the Prelims and Mains exams.

– A momentous occasion occurred during the first sitting of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly when Governor R N Ravi declined to read the text that the state government had prepared. This action set off a recurrent dispute within the executive branch.
– This move and other examples of the governor interfering indicate a growing constitutional problem, particularly with questions to the governor’s function and applicability in modern democracies.

Conflict within the Executive Branch:

  • The fact that Governor R N Ravi declined to peruse the document that the Tamil Nadu administration had prepared highlights a basic division within the executive branch.
  • This act contributes to constitutional instability by demonstrating a breakdown in the relationship between the state government and the governor and highlighting a lack of consensus.

Increased Interference of Governors:

  • There has been a discernible increase in governor meddling in non-BJP ruled states including Kerala, Telangana, Punjab, Delhi, and West Bengal. This has resulted in constitutional conflict that impedes efficient governance.
  • This tendency is further highlighted by incidents like the withholding of bills and the lack of regular governor’s addresses.

Governor’s Alleged Overreach:

  • The actions of Governor R N Ravi, such as the withholding of bills and objections to the Governor’s Address, point to a constitutionally bound abuse of the governor’s authority.
  • The governor’s unfounded attempts to undercut the power of the state government raise concerns about the governorship’s applicability in contemporary democracies.

Constitutional Crisis and Federal Structure:

  • The governor’s function within the constitutional framework needs to be reevaluated in light of the ongoing conflicts and constitutional crises that are made worse by the governor’s actions.
  • The Supreme Court’s position on the governor’s restricted discretionary powers emphasizes the necessity of reevaluating the governorship’s applicability, particularly in light of its influence on the nation’s federal structure.

Reevaluation of the Governorship:

  • There are questions regarding whether the governorship as an institution is still necessary given the ongoing difficulties caused by the governor’s activities.
  • The job of governors seems more ceremonial in the context of functional executive heads like chief ministers and collective ministerial responsibility.
  • The contemporary constitutional issue acts as a wake-up call, causing the governorship’s position to be reexamined and maybe abolished as an outmoded colonial remnant.


  • A critical analysis of the governor’s function within the democratic system is required due to the persistent conflicts and constitutional crises that result from the governor’s activities. This analysis underscores the pressing need for reforms in order to maintain the integrity of the federal structure and guarantee efficient government.

What are the Constitutional Reforms suggested by Various Committees and Supreme Court?
The Sarkaria Commission (1988):

– The Chief Minister of the state in question should be consulted before the President appoints the governor.
– In addition to not being a resident of the state in which he is chosen, the governor ought to be a notable figure in some aspect of public life.
– With very unusual and compelling exceptions, the governor should not be removed before the end of his tenure.
– Rather than serving as the center’s representative, the governor need to serve as a liaison between the state and the center.
– The governor should refrain from undermining the democratic process by using his discretionary powers wisely and in moderation.

S.R. Bommai Judgment (1994):

– The hostile Central government’s habit of dismissing State administrations without cause was put an end to by the lawsuit.
– The verdict said that the governor’s discretion should not be used to evaluate the majority of the existing administration; rather, the Assembly floor should be the sole forum for such an evaluation.

Venkatachaliah Commission (2002):

– A committee made up of the prime minister, the home minister, the speaker of the Lok Sabha, and the chief minister of the state in question should be tasked with appointing governors.
– Unless the governors resign or are removed by the President due to shown incompetence or misbehavior, they should be permitted to serve out their whole five-year tenure.
– Prior to removing the governor, the national government ought to confer with the Chief Minister.
– The governor has no business meddling in the day-to-day operations of the state government. He ought to serve as the state government’s advisor, friend, and mentor while exercising his discretionary authority sparingly.

In Rameshwar Prasad v. Union of India (2006):

– The Supreme Court ruled that the Governor’s arbitrary and self-serving actions are subject to judicial scrutiny, having determined that the Governor had misused his authority when he suggested Presidential rule for Bihar.
– However, Rameshwar Prasad did not address the issue of whether governors can assert immunity for extraconstitutional actions or remarks. 

Punchhi Commission (2010):
– The Commission suggested amending the Constitution to remove the clause “during the pleasure of the President,” which suggests that a governor may be replaced at the whim of the national government.
– Rather, the group recommended that the sole way to remove a governor would be through a resolution passed by the state legislature, giving the states greater stability and autonomy.

BP Singhal vs Union of India (2010):
– The Supreme Court ruled that a governor may be removed by the president at any moment and for any reason.
– This is so because Article 156(1) of the Indian Constitution states that the Governor serves “during the pleasure of the President.” But the Court further decided that no arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable basis could be used to justify the removal. 

NCT of Delhi v. Union of India (2018):
– The Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench emphasized the importance of determining the “moral values of the Constitution” using the concept of “constitutional culture.”
– “Those who occupy constitutional institutions and offices owe responsibilities and duties to the Constitution,” it stated.
– Governors ought to determine if the morality of the constitution is reflected in their conduct.

Kaushal Kishor v. State of Uttar Pradesh (2023):
– The Court ruled that the only option to restrict public officials’ freedom of expression was through “reasonable restrictions,” as allowed by Article 19(2) of the Constitution.

PYQ: Which of the following lists the governor of a state’s discretionary powers? (2014)
1) Reporting to the Indian President about the implementation of the President’s rule
2) Designating the Ministers
3) Holding back some legislation approved by the State Legislature to be reviewed by the Indian President
4) Creating the regulations that govern how the State Government does its business 

Select the correct answer using the code given below: 
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 1 and 3 only
(c) 2, 3 and 4 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4 

Ans: (b)
Practice Question: Talk about the Indian constitutional dilemma that has resulted from the dispute between the state and the governors, paying particular attention to current events and how they affect the federal system. (15 m/250 words)

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