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  • 31 October, 2022

  • 6 Min Read

Pleasure Doctrine  & Governor's Duties and Powers

Pleasure Doctrine & Governor's Duties and Powers

The governor of Kerala has issued a warning to ministers, stating that any remarks made by a minister that diminish the stature of the governor's office may result in retaliation, including the withholding of pleasure.

Pleasure Doctrine: What is it?

  • In accordance with the English common law's "pleasure theory," the monarch is free to terminate any employee's employment at any time.
  • According to Article 310 of the Indian Constitution, each member of the Union's defence or civil service serves at the pleasure of the President, and each employee of a state's civil service serves at the discretion of the Governor.
  • It adds that Ministers hold office during the pleasure of the Governor. In a constitutional scheme in which they are appointed solely on the CM’s advice, the ‘pleasure’ referred to is also taken to mean the right of the CM to dismiss a Minister and not that of the Governor. In short, the Governor of an Indian State cannot remove a Minister on his own.

Supreme Court’s View:

Shamsher Singh & Anr v. State of Punjab (1974):

In this case, a seven-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court ruled that, aside from a few well-known exceptional circumstances, the President and Governor, the guardians of all executive and other powers under various Articles, shall only exercise their formal constitutional powers on the advice of their Ministers.

Deputy Speaker and Others v. Nabam Rebia and Others (2016):

The Supreme Court noted B. R. Ambedkar's findings in this case: "Under the Constitution, the Governor has no tasks that he can do alone; none at all. The House would be well to keep in mind that while he has no functions, he does have certain obligations.

Prafulla Chandra v. Mahabir Prasad, 1969:

The case revolved around the question of the nature of the governor’s pleasure under article 164(1).

  • The governor's pleasure under article 164(1) is subject to Article 164(2). Thus, the withdrawal of the governor's pleasure must coincide with the withdrawal of support to the ministry by the assembly.

What aspects of the Constitution relating to the governor?

  • Each State must have a governor, according to Article 153. A single individual may be named governor of two or more states.
  • A Governor is a Central Government nominee who is nominated by the President.

The Governor is said to have two roles.

  • As the state's constitutional leader, he must abide by the recommendations of his Ministerial Council (CoM).
  • He serves as an essential conduit between the State Government and the Union Government.
  • For the position of governor, certain qualifications are outlined in Articles 157 and 158. A governor must be an Indian national.
  • 35 years of age minimum.
  • not be a member of the state legislature or of either house of the parliament.
  • not hold any profitable offices.
  • The governor has the authority to give amnesties, pardons, etc (Article 161).
  • With few exceptions for discretion, the Governor is assisted and advised in the performance of his duties by a CoM, which is led by the CM (Article 163)
  • The Chief Minister and all Ministers are appointed by the Governor (Article 164).
  • The Governor signs, vetoes, or reserves a law enacted by the Legislative Assembly for the President's consideration (Article 200).
  • In certain situations, governors may issue the ordinances (Article 213).

What are the points of contention between the governor and the state?

  • The governor is pictured as a nonpartisan leader who must follow the cabinet of ministers' recommendations. The Governor does, however, have some latitude allowed by the Constitution.
  • Giving or refusing to give consent to a state legislature-passed bill are only a few examples. Another is deciding which party shall be summoned first after an election with a hung vote to demonstrate which party has the majority.
  • The way the Governor and the state must interact publicly when there is a difference of opinion is not specifically outlined in the law.
  • The Governor's term is for five years, and he can only hold the position until the President so chooses.
  • The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution held in 2001 that the Union was responsible for the Governor's appointment and reappointment.
  • He might operate in conformity with the directives issued by the Union Council of Ministers, which raises concern.
  • The Governor's authority to name a CM or dissolve the Assembly is not subject to any restrictions in the Constitution.
  • The length of time a Governor may refuse to sign a bill is unrestricted.
  • In order to recommend the President invoke Article 356 (President's Rule), the Governor sends a report to the centre, which serves as the foundation.

How have concerns about the alleged partisan role played by governors been addressed?

Changes to the Governors' Selection Process:

  • The Atal Bihari Vajpayee administration created the National Commission To Review the Working of the Constitution in 2000, and it recommended that the President pick a State's Governor after consulting with the Chief Minister of that State.

Sarkaria Commission's proposal:

  • The Prime Minister should contact the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Vice President of India while choosing governors, according to a recommendation made by the Sarkaria Commission, which was established in 1983 to examine relations between the Centre and states.

Punchhi Committee's suggestion:

  • The 2007 Justice Madan Mohan Punchhi Committee on Center-State Relations recommended in its report that the Governor be chosen by a committee made up of the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Vice President, Speaker, and the relevant Chief Minister.
  • Despite supporting the Governor's ability to approve the prosecution of ministers despite the state government's advice, the Punchhi Committee suggested that the "Doctrine of Pleasure" be removed from the Constitution.
  • It also called for a clause that would allow the state legislature to remove the governor from office.

Source: The Hindu

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