22nd NOVEMBER, 2019
|RAJYA SABHA TELEVISION|
VISHESH: ROLE OF GOVERNOR
Every time there is a hung assembly, it’s the governor who uses his discretion that often favors the party or alliance at the Centre. Whether it is Maharashtra now, Karnataka last year or several other cases in the past, the focus had been on the governor’s role in terms of inviting a party or alliance to form the government or giving it a longer rope to prove majority in the House.
Role of the Governor in the government formation
- As a matter of convention, the Governor has to first invite the single largest party to form the government. But the decision has to be an “informed one” and “on sound basis,” with a view to provide a stable government.
- In the Rameshwar Prasad Vs. Union of India, 2006, case, a five-judge Constitution Bench, clearly recommended the suggestions made by the R S Sarkaria Commission in its report on Centre-State relations, which had emphasized on the impartiality of Governors and their role in upholding the constitutional mandate.
- The M M Punchhi Commission also elaborated that the governor should follow “constitutional conventions” in a case of a hung Assembly. Further, in a case of a Hung Assembly, the Punchhi Commission prescribed:
- The party or alliances which get the widest support in the Legislative Assembly should be called upon to form the government.
- If there is a pre-poll coalition or alliance, it should be treated as one political party. And in case, such coalition gets a majority, the leader of such alliances shall be called by the Governor to form the government.
- In case no pre-poll coalition or party has a clear majority, the governor should select the Chief Minister in the order of priorities indicated here:
- The group of parties which had a pre-poll alliance of the largest number.
- The largest single party which claims to form the government with the support of others;
- A post-electoral alliance with all partners joining the government;
- A post-electoral alliance where parties are joining the government and the remaining including independents are supporting the government from outside.
- In the Nabam Rebia and Bamang Felix Vs Deputy Speaker case a five-judge Bench, recommended the views of the Punchhi and Sarkaria Commissions regarding giving the Governor an independent discretion to take a call on the floor test when the government has lost the confidence of the legislature.
- In the S R Bommai case, a nine-judge Bench had underlined the significance of a floor test when there are claims by two political groups while laying down that the floor test must be conducted by the Governor as soon as possible.
- Article 164 of the Constitution says: “The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor and the other ministers shall be appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister, and the ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor.”
- Article 164(2) of the Constitution says that the Council of Ministers must be collectively responsible to the House.
In a democracy, the proper representation of public interest is of supreme importance. And the governments are chosen by the people. And, our constitution has clearly directed the ways how the government should be formed in the case of Hung Assembly. And it has given this prerogative to the Governors. So the governor should analyze which political party or alliance is forming the majority on the basis of constitutional provisions. And his decision should be followed by the political parties.