Amid the power tussle in Rajasthan, Governor Kalraj Mishra on Monday agreed to summon a session of the state assembly provided the Ashok Gehlot government gives a 21-day notice. The condition is part of three suggestions the Governor has made while returning Gehlot Cabinet’s recommendation that he should call a session of the Vidhan Sabha.
This is the second time that the Governor has returned the file, asking for some more information from the state. Congress leader P. Chidambaram today said that the “Governor of Rajasthan has stalled — and continues to stall — a perfectly valid request of the Council of Ministers of Rajasthan to convene a session of the Legislative Assembly. It is settled law that the Governor shall act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. The Governor has no discretion — let me repeat, no discretion at all — in the matter.” He said, this was despite “three landmark judgements of the Courts when the Governors concerned acted in gross violation of the Constitution in Arunachal Pradesh (2016), Uttarakhand (2016) and Karnataka (2019).”
Following is a list of some other cases from the past where the conduct of Governors was questioned:
Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari’s conduct was questioned when he recommended President’s rule in the state even before the deadline given to NCP to stake claim had ended. The sudden revocation of the President’s rule and an early morning swearing-in of the BJP government under Devendra Fadnavis with rebel NCP leader Ajit Pawar also brought Koshiyari’s role under a cloud.
Governor Vajubhai Vala’s discretionary powers were questioned when he called the BJP, single-largest party, to form the government even when it did not have a simple majority. Vala gave the BJP 15 days to prove its majority. He overlooked the claim of Congress and JD(S) that had a post-poll alliance. The matter was resolved after the intervention of the court.
Governor Ganga Prasad did not call the Congress, the single-largest party, but instead allowed the NDA alliance to form the government.
Governor Najma Heptulla did not invite the single-largest party Congress to form the government but gave a chance to the BJP with 21 MLAs over Congress’ 28.
Governor Mridula Sinha allowed the claim of BJP that had 13 MLAs in the 40-member assembly while overlooking claims of the Congress which had won 17 seats.
Arunachal Pradesh (2016)
A group of rebel Congress MLAs approached Governor J.P. Rajkhowa to impeach the speaker, Nabam Rebia of Arunachal state assembly. Congress protested, but Rajkhowa recommended imposition of President’s rule in the state. Later, with Supreme Court’s intervention, President’s Rule was lifted and court rejected the pleas of rebel Congress MLAs.
When nine Congress MLAs, along with 26 BJP MLAs, rebelled against Harish Rawat-led Congress government in Uttarakhand against the finance bill, Governor K.K. Paul asked for imposition of President’s rule. The rebel MLAs were later disqualified. Uttarakhand high Court quashed President’s rule and Rawat proved his majority.
When B. S. Yeddyruppa-led BJP government faced rebellion from 16 MLAs, Speaker K G Bopiah called for the floor test and disqualified the rebel MLAs from the state Assembly. While Yeddyurappa proved his majority through a voice vote, Governor H R Bhardwaj questioned the manner in which the majority was proved and sent a letter to the Centre, recommending President's rule. The Union government rejected his suggestion.
Governor Syed Sibtey Razi’s role was questioned when he installed Jharkhand Mukti Morcha’s Shibhu Soren as the new CM, despite the NDA claiming the support of 41 MLAs in the 80-member assembly. Supreme Court intervened and ordered a floor test. Soren failed to prove his majority in the house and BJP’s Arjun Munda was sworn in as the CM of the state.
Governor Buta Singh recommended dissolution of Bihar assembly despite the JD(U) and the BJP claiming that they fulfilled the requirements of forming the government with the support of 115 MLAs in the 243-member house.
Uttar Pradesh (1996)
The role of Governor, late Romesh Bhandari, came under a cloud as UP threw up a hung assembly. Bhandari’s actions were seen as blatantly partisan as the state remained under President’s rule for almost six months. Then BJP-BSP alliance formed the “rotational” government in 1997. The BSP withdrew support after six months when it was BJP chief minister Kalyan Singh’s turn. Instead of giving Singh time, Bhandari immediately dismissed the government and installed Loktantrik Congress’ Jagdambika Pal as the new CM of the state. Pal had to resign three days later after court restored Singh as the CM.
Governor P Venkatasubbaiah did not give an opportunity to Karnataka Janata Dal Chief Minister S R Bommai to prove his majority in the assembly, despite Bommai presenting him the copy of resolution signed by the legislature party.
Andhra Pradesh (1984)
Governor Ram Lal’s conduct came under a cloud after the state got its first non-Congress government with N T Rama Rao as the Chief Minister in 1983. However, a year later, when NTR went to the US for heart surgery, his finance minister Nadendla Bhaskara Rao, a former Congressman broke the party and staked claim as CM. The Governor supported his claim and he was made the Chief Minister.
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