SC clips Centre’s power to sack Governor
‘Guv Is Not An Agent, Employee Of The Union Government’
ATULESH PARASAR/AMIT ANAND
New Delhi, May 7: Clipping the Government’s powers, the Supreme Court Friday ruled that Governors cannot be removed with the change of power at the Centre or for refusing to act as its “agent” and being out of ‘sync’ with its ideology.
Delivering a path-breaking unanimous verdict, a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan held that power to remove them (Governors) “will have to be exercised in rare and exceptional circumstances for valid and compelling reasons”.
“A Governor cannot be removed on the ground that he is out of sync with the policies and ideologies of the Union Government or the party in power at the Centre. Nor can he be removed on the ground that the Union Government has lost confidence in him. It follows therefore that the change in government at the Centre is not a ground for removal of Governors holding office to make way for others favoured by the new government,” the Bench said.
It rejected the contention of the Centre and other respondents that Governors should be in sync with the policies of the Union Government or should subscribe to the ideology of the party in power at the Centre.
“Governor is not the agent or the employee of the Union Government”, the Bench also comprising Justices S H Kapadia, R V Raveendran, B Sudershan Reddy and P Sathasivam said.
It also rejected the contention that a Governor can be removed if the Union Government or party in power loses confidence in him.
“Governors cannot be politically active. We therefore reject the contention of the respondents that Governors should be in sync with the policies of the Union Government or should subscribe to the ideology of the party in power at the Centre,” the apex court said.
“While some of them may come from a political background, once they are appointed as Governors, they owe their allegiance and loyalty to the Constitution and not to any political party and are required to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution,” the court said.
The apex court held that although the Centre need not assign any reason for removing the Constitutional head of state but such action can be judicially reviewed and the government has to explain before it.
The landmark decision came on a PIL filed in 2004 by senior BJP leader B P Singhal challenging the removal of Governors of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Orissa by the previous UPA government.
The PIL had contended that the President could not have removed the Governors of four states on the advice of the Centre disregarding the Constitutional provision, which fixed five-year term for them.
Observing that the President has power to remove Governor anytime without assigning any reason and without giving any opportunity to show cause, the court said that such authority cannot be used arbitrarily.
“Though no reason need be assigned for discontinuance of the pleasure (of the president)resulting in removal, the power under Article 156(1) cannot be exercised in an arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable manner. The power will have to be exercised in rare and exceptional circumstances for valid and compelling reasons,” the bench said.
The court, however, did not enumerate reasons under which the government can take such action against the Governor.
“The compelling reasons are not restricted to those enumerated by the petitioner (that is physical/mental disability, corruption and behaviour unbecoming of a Governor) but are of a wider amplitude. What would be compelling reasons would depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case,” the court said.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 7 May 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 7 May 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 8 May 2010 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM FRONTPAGE
PATIENTS TO PAY FOR EXAMINATIONS, AMBULANCE, DIET
Srinagar, May 7: Government hospitals will no more be a cheap healthcare option for all. The state government has made all services provided to patients at the Government Medical College associated hospitals More
- Srinagar City
Edge Wall, road stretch sinks in under construction drain
GK CITY CORRESPONDENT
Srinagar, May 7: The lack of coordination between project executing agencies is again resulting in the waste of public money in the City. This time the widened stretch of Bypass snaking the south More
GK NEWS NETWORK
Jammu, May 7: The state government has decided to engage nearly 8000 volunteers to help the administration in protecting the environment and create awareness among the people. These youth will be More
- South Asia
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, May 7: The Supreme Court today upheld the Constitutional validity of civil services examination rule giving the option of availing quota benefit to reserved category candidates making it to More
- GK Business
Srinagar, May 7: Yet another hike in the gold prices today pushing the yellow mettle to this year high has come as a major concern for the customers, even as the goldsmiths fear it could have negative More