IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 31st July 2020
“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.” –George Bernard Shaw
EDITORIAL HUNT #111 :“Governors Discretionary Power | UPSC“
P.D.T. Achary is former Secretary General, Lok Sabha
(Governors Discretionary Power | UPSC)
Getting ahead of constitutional practices
If constitutional principles and practices no longer excite the citizens, but new political norms do, democracy is in trouble
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Governor
Governor overruling the decision of the Cabinet yields a politically helpless government . Substantiate -(GS 2)
- Powers of Governor
- Jurisdiction of Governor
- Different cases and interpretations.
- A simple petition challenging the issuance of notices by the Speaker to the rebel MLAs was turned into a very complex issue
- The petition challenged the constitutionality of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution.
STAYING THE SPEAKER’S ACTION
- THE SIMPLE PLEA : The rebels plea – the notice issued by the Speaker was bad in law and should be quashed.
SHOW CAUSE NOTICE/PETITION
- FRAMING A PETION : These rules were first framed by the Lok Sabha Speaker in 1985 and adopted by more or less all the State Legislatures.
- FILING A PETITION : Rule 6 of the Lok Sabha rules deals with the filing of the petition and the forwarding of the same by the Speaker to the member concerned.
- MORE IN RULE 6 : Thus petitioner believes that the member concerned has become subject to disqualification.
- PETITIONERS ROLE : Thus, the rule requires the petitioner, and not the Speaker, to satisfy himself about the reasonableness of the ground for disqualification.
- ULTIMATE RESPONSIBILITY : This responsibility is discharged by the petitioner by appending a brief statement to the petition.
- BROADCASTING A PETITION : Rule 7 says that on receipt of the petition, the Speaker shall consider whether the petition complies with the requirements of Rule 6.
- REJECTION OF PETITION : If Governor finds that the petition does not meet all the requirements, he shall dismiss it.
- FORWARDING A PETITION : If it complies with all the requirements, Governor shall forward the copy of the petition to the member concerned.
- RESPONSE TO A PETITION : Member is required to submit his comments within seven days of the receipt of the copy of the petition.
- REASONABLENESS : The Speaker cannot go into the reasonableness of the grounds cited in the petition .
KIHOTO HOLLOHAN V. ZACHILLHU (1992)
- In the Tenth Schedule proceedings, there is no disqualification/ suspension of a member in the interim period.
DATE OF THE ASSEMBLY SESSION
- SESSION COMMENCEMENT : Cabinet yielding to the Governor’s demand that there should be a 21-day gap between the summoning and commencement of the session.
SUMMONING THE ASSEMBLY
- ROUTINE FUNCTION : Summoning the Assembly is a routine constitutional function of the Governor.
- NORMAL TIMES : As per the normal procedure, once the Cabinet decides to call the session on a particular date, that decision is conveyed to the Governor who signs the summons order and sends it back the same day or the next day.
- SUMMONS ISSUED : Thereafter, the summons is issued to individual members by the Assembly Secretary.
- VESTED POWER : The Cabinet form of government presupposes that the executive power of the state vests in the elected government headed by the Chief Minister.
NABAM REBIA CASE
- Governor is bound to accept the decisions of the Cabinet in regard to the date of commencement of the session.
SHAMSHER SINGH V. STATE OF PUNJAB (1974)
- Such a position is antithetical to the concept of ‘responsible government’.
- The decision to convene the Assembly session is taken by the Cabinet; the Governor has to merely sign the summons order.
The Governor and the Chief Minister should be able to resolve such crisis without damaging the integrity of institutions.
THE 21-DAY PERIOD
- THE GAP : In 1969, the Rules Committee of the Lok Sabha recommended that the gap between the date of summons and of the commencement of the House should be 21 days.
- USAGE OF GAP : This was thought of as necessary as the collection, collation and scrutiny of information relating to Questions, at different levels of bureaucracy.
- APPLICATION : Although Parliament changed it to 15 days later, many State Legislatures continue with the 21-day period.
- URGENCY : If the government feels the urgency, it is well within its power to convene the House at shorter notice.
These are well-established constitutional principles and practices.
“Constitutional principles and practices do no longer excite the citizens, but new political norms do, then democracy is in trouble.”
SOURCES: THE HINDU EDITORIAL | Governors Discretionary Power | UPSC