The Governor

culturalindia.net

 

Issue of skipping portions of his address

 

  • Why in news
    • Kerala Governor P. Sathasivam (2018) omitted parts of his speech prepared by the govt
  • Sathasivam is not the first case
    • Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy
    • Punjab Governor D.C. Pavate (1969)
    • West Bengal Governor A.P. Sharma (early 1980s)
    • West Bengal Governor Dharma Vira (1969)
  • Supreme Court’s opinion
    • Shamsher Singh v. State of Punjab
      • the principle that the President (or the Governor) is guided by the aid and advice of the Cabinet covers every function whether it relates to addressing the House or returning a Bill for reconsideration, or assenting or withholding assent
  • The contention
    • Critics claim that
      • Omission of certain parts of the speech by the Governor is unlawful and unconstitutional.
      • It was the intention of the Constitution-makers that the Governor’s speech would be prepared by the Council of Ministers and the Governor would read it. Violation of this would amount to breach of the spirit of the Constitution, if not its word.
      • In the garb of ‘independence of judiciary’, the centre abuses this power to prevent criticism of its actions by the states.
    • Those who defend this action by the Governors hold that
      • The paragraphs which impliedly ridicule a High Court judgment ought to be omitted.
      • Such action by the Governor is neither unlawful nor does it violate any established convention.
  • Final word
    • The debate over a Governor skipping portions of his address is not yet resolved.
    • The situation at present is that when the speech is confined to matters of policy, the Governor will have to read it in its entirety regardless of his opinion, but when it contains irrelevant words that would be inappropriate for him to read, he may omit them at the risk of inviting criticism.