The Constitution clearly says the country’s President will appoint the governors. It’s another matter that the nominal heads some states get can become controversial, leaving the system blemished. After all, whichever party is at the Centre, it tries to appoint its committed party members as state governors.
The governor should be impartial and objective so as to earn people’s faith. The Sarkaria and Venkatachaliah commissions strongly suggest disqualifying persons from becoming governors if they are active in party politics. But then, quite a few such candidates have functioned impartially in gubernatorial posts, while it’s sometimes an academician or jurist who may act as a crony of his party bosses.
Article 164 says the governor shall appoint the chief minister, and that the appointment of other ministers will be made on the CM’s advice. In the recent case of Karnataka, though, no government was yet appointed; so the governor had to act on his discretion. Article 163(2) categorically provides that a governor’s discretionary act cannot be questioned on grounds of invalidity or what (s)he ought or ought not to have done. The Constitution places the post at a high pedestal.
The governor may go wrong, as he did in Karnataka—or as the President did in the case of Atal Behari Vajpayee as the PM in 1996. Even Charan Singh never faced the House, but was appointed prime minister (1979) by the President in his discretion. The perceived dubiousness associated with that precedent cannot take away the President’s power to appoint PMs. Nor can the present Karnataka governor be shorn of his constitutional powers. If even the Supreme Court tries to go against specific words in the Constitution, that would be unconstitutional.
I disagree with some courts that mala fide or...