Guvs role under discussion at Inter-State Council meet
A key panel of the Inter-State Council on Sunday discussed the use of discretionary powers by Governors during government formation, a development that came against the backdrop of the BJP forming its governments in Goa and Manipur despite not having a majority.
The meeting of the Standing Committee of the ISC, held after a gap of 12 years, also discussed the tenure of Governors, guidelines to them on the use of discretionary powers in the appointment of Chief Ministers, besides a host of other issues.
"We discussed threadbare the role of Governors. Many states felt that a Governor should be qualified, non-partisan and above politics," said Finance Minister of Andhra Pradesh Y Ramakrishnudu, who deputised for Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
Ramakrishnudu said states wanted Governors to not have a say in politics.
The appointment of Chief Ministers in Goa and Manipur recently had got embroiled in controversy after leaders of BJP, which finished second to Congress in both states, were invited to form governments with the help of smaller parties and independents.
There have been many instances in the past when unhappy over a Governor's decision, the affected parties have gone to court and got the gubernatorial decisions overturned.
According to the M M Punchhi Commission's recommendations on the Centre-State relations, which came up for consideration at Sunday's meeting, the Governor should follow clear guidelines in the appointment of Chief Minister by sticking to "clear order of preference".
The commission has recommended that a Chief Minister should be asked to prove his majority within a clear time limit before he is dismissed.
In such a scenario, the Chief Minister should prove his majority within 5 days to maximum 30 days, it has said.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh chaired the meeting, while Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his Odisha, Tripura and Chhattisgarh counterparts Naveen Patnaik, Manik Sarkar and Raman Singh attended it.
Chief Ministers of Rajasthan, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh, who are also members of the committee, did not attend the meeting and sent their representatives.
According to an internal note of the Inter-State Council, Bihar has called the role of a Governor "redundant", while a few other states felt that Governors should have no role in governance or politics of the state under their charge.
As many as 19 states have given their suggestions on the eligibility criteria for the post of Governor. Bihar has said the post of Governor should be abolished, while Gujarat and Haryana feel the present parameters with regard to qualification of the Governor suffice.
Punjab has said that while appointing the Governor, state government should be consulted.
There was a general consensus among the states that politicisation of the post of Governor was taking place which was "unhealthy" for Centre-State relations.
On another controversial issue of granting prosecution sanction against a member of the Council of Ministers under section 197 CrPC, seven states, including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, contested the Punchhi Commission's recommendation that the Governor should follow Supreme Court interpretation that a Governor is not bound by the advice of the CoM.