When it comes to debates regarding the importance of state governors in India, Dravida Monetra Kazagam (DMK), the ruling party of Tamil Nadu, has always held one position –”Aatukku thaadium, nattukku Governum thevai illai.This translates to: “The goat does not need a beard, nor a state, nor a ruler.” The KDP spokesperson also confirmed this position recently against the backdrop of the growing conflict between the DMK government led by Stalin and Governor RN Ravi over the NEET bill.
Giving the company to Tamil Nadu, when it comes to ‘governor’s issues’, is the neighboring state of Kerala and other non-BJP member states in West Bengal and Maharashtra. The governments of these states, in the recent past, have continued to accuse their governors of exceeding their constitutional powers, of undue interference in the day-to-day administration of the state, and delays in approving bills that are inconsistent with the situation. Union government and above all, for being “agents of the center”.
Disputes between state governments and rulers have been a problem in India since the country’s independence. Talking to India forwardN Satya Murthy, a political analyst and political commentator, says that whenever there is a ruling party in the center with an overwhelming majority, they are bound to have strong political confidence and, as a result, they will be able to appoint conservatives. who act as their political agents in different states, especially those ruled by different parties.
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It is said that the controversy regarding the role of rulers in post-independence India, started from the time of Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister of India, after she started relying on Article 356 of the Indian Constitution to dismiss various state governments who refused to do so. her finger line. Article 356 states that if the state government is unable to act in accordance with the constitutional provisions, the union government can assume direct control of the state apparatus.
Talking to India forwardMukund P Unny, an attorney for the Supreme Court, said that in the past, governors’ offices have been used extensively by many Union governments to subvert democratic processes and bring down state governments using Section 356. Various Union governments more than 200 times to defeat popular mandate in the states,” says Mukund.
One example of a ruler calling for the dismissal of the state government at the behest of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was in 1980, in Punjab, when the coalition government of Shirumani Akali Dal, the Janata Party, and the CPI were dismissed just two years into their tenure, although Form a government by an overwhelming majority.
“Now, governors have also started to interfere in the daily routine administrative procedures of state governments,” says Mukund, who cites an example of how Kerala Governor Arif Muhammad Khan refused to sign a state policy document of the government in the run-up to the state budget session in 2022. He adds. That it is important to re-imagine the role of the ruler as “his role can easily be replaced by the President of India”.
Rethinking the role of the ruler
Over the past few months, questions as to whether the governor is a representative of the Indian union or the ruling party at the centre, have begun to make the rounds in states such as Kerala, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, along with discussions about whether there is a need to Make changes in the role of governors.
Professor Ramu Manivanan certainly feels that there is a need to re-examine the roles and powers of the rulers. The Wali is supposed to be a constitutional bridge between the state government and the center and not an agent of any party. “Instead of reducing friction between states and the center, governors in several states are creating more friction between the two governments,” says Manivanan, former chair of the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Madras.
Manivanan argues that states can also dispense with governors, and states that instead of a governor, an IAS or IPS official can be empowered to make decisions for the union government and that the president can directly approve or reject bills passed by state legislatures without a governor as an intermediary.
Meanwhile, there are some, such as Satya Murthy, who still feel that the ruler is important in serving various important roles such as taking charge of running the state, if it goes through a period without an elected government. “I also wonder why none of the affected state governments have gone to the Supreme Court yet to challenge the various positions of the governor and seek to clarify these issues,” asks Satya Mothi.
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