Hyderabad, Nov 10: “The governor is neither a super auditor nor a superpower,” says senior advocate, constitutional expert and Telangana’s first advocate general K Ramakrishna Reddy. In an extensive interview with TNIE’s VV Balakrishna, he said that it is not appropriate to call ministers to the Raj Bhavan as the governor can only seek clarifications from the departments concerned if he feels that a certain bill is violative of the existing Central Acts or the Constitution. The former A-G is of the view that the Governor cannot simultaneously keep the bills pending for months. In the same breath, he is of the opinion that it is wrong on the part of the government to waive the protocol with respect to the Governor. Excerpts: What is your opinion on the ongoing conflict between the Governor and the State Governments in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Telangana? Can you give us a constitutional perspective? Governors do not have executive powers under the Constitution. All orders are issued in the name of the Governor and it is a general executive power.
Now the issue is that the governors of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana are not clearing the bills. Several bills are pending with the Governor in Telangana. Under Article 200, the Governor has to examine the Bill. If the Governor finds any difficulty in approving it, he may consult the concerned department or secretary and point out the lapses or irregularities. The Governor can send the Bill again to the Legislature with an appropriate note. Instead, it is not proper to keep the Bills near the Raj Bhavan and ask the ministers to come and discuss them at the Raj Bhavan. The governor is not a super auditor (over the state government). Suppose a bill is passed by the state legislature, they will forward it for the assent of the governor. Sometimes, the Governor feels that a particular bill passed by the State Legislature contradicts a Central Act or there may be statutory objection, the Governor may approach the Attorney-General or the Solicitor-General.
Similarly, the Governor can reserve the bill and send it to the President for his assent. If the President also feels that there is an objection, he can send the bill to the Governor, who can in turn send it back to the state government. Again, the state legislature may or may not pass the bill with or without amendments. The governor has little or nominal power. Keeping bills together for months and asking a particular minister to come to the Raj Bhavan is not right. The governor cannot administer like a super auditor or a super power. Why is it inappropriate to invite a minister to the Raj Bhavan for clarification? What will the minister say to the governor? Only that majority of the members of the legislature adopted the bill in public interest and it is the policy of the state government.
The minister will say that the bill is valid and seeks the assent of the governor. In Kerala also the governor is calling the ministers. The governor is not the super boss of the state government. Of course, the governor is a respected person and a constitutional functionary. If the governor has an objection, he can ask the legislature to reconsider the bill. If the Bill is introduced again, the Governor has to give his assent as per Article 200. it’s mandatory. Governor is very active in Telangana and even holds Praja Darbar. This is right? Praja Darbar is for popularity. What will the Governor do after holding Praja Darbar? The received representation will be sent to the concerned departments for appropriate action. The governor cannot direct the state government saying that you should do this, appoint someone or not, or pass orders. The governor can only forward the petitions to the departments concerned. That’s all.
When there is a conflict between the governor and the state government, how can they be resolved? what a drag? The President can solve it. For example, Telangana forwarded bills, the governor is not taking any action. The State Government can represent the matter to the President. The President has to take appropriate action on this. The Telangana government is not extending the protocol to the governor, especially during his visits to various places in the state. Is it constitutional? Not extending the protocol is not correct. When the Governor visits different parts of the state, the Raj Bhavan will inform the Chief Secretary. Appropriate authority conferring privileges on the Governor. The refusal to follow the protocol or make arrangements on the part of the state government is unfair. However, no law has been laid down by the High Court or the Supreme Court on protocol. The TRS government, citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s earlier speech, which he gave as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, says that the post of governor is a relic of the colonial system and not necessary.
Ex-AG of Telangana: Governor not super auditor or superpower
Story first published: Thursday, November 10, 2022, 21:20 [IST]