Wednesday, July 5, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Should a Governor criticise his government?

THE Governor of Rajasthan has criticised his State Government by saying that a large number of people have left their homes and migrated to other places because the government did not start the drought relief operations in time in the State.

It is unfortunate that the Head of the State has publicly highlighted the failure of his government and that too at a time when the people of the State were suffering from natural calamities. In a democratic setup like ours, it was perhaps the political compulsion of the Opposition and not the constitutional function of a Governor to publicly criticise his government for the delay in the implementation of the relief measures in the drought-affected areas of the State. On the other hand, the Governor was morally bound to support the action of his government even if his advice or directions were ignored by the Chief Minister, particularly when as per his judgement sufficient resources were available with the government to start the process of relief operations.

The Governor of a State has to be more cautious in his actions specially when two different political parties are in power at the Centre and in the State. The best course for a Governor in such circumstances is to report the matter to the Centre and his comments on the working of his own government should not be released to the Press in such a manner.

  Such situations generally arise when there is lack of proper guidance and directions from the President and the Prime Minister and the Governors are left with no other alternative but to act according to their experience and more particularly their previous political affiliations. Earlier, there was a convention of holding annual conferences of the Governors in Delhi, generally after the monsoon session of Parliament. The President as well as the Prime Minister used to actively participate in the discussions in such conferences and guide the Governors on various sensitive issues being faced by the country. Such conferences also used to work as refresher courses, particularly for the newly appointed Governors.

It is unfortunate that for the last few years the Governors’ conference had not been held regularly. In case the President and the Prime Minister are preoccupied with other important engagements, in view of the changed political scenario, the annual conference of the Governors should be held regularly and can be presided over either by the Vice-President or by the seniormost Governor so that the participants get an opportunity to interact and can be benefited by the experience of other Governors on various sensitive issues they are facing in the respective States. Such interactions will avoid many unnecessary controversies Raj Bhavans are facing these days, and will certainly help in reviving the impartial and non-political image of the Governors.


J&K autonomy

It is a matter of grave concern that the Jammu & Kashmir Assembly has passed the resolution of granting greater autonomy to the state, on the move of Dr Farooq Abdullah, Chief Minister. His father, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, also had raised the issue of self-determination in 1950 when the State was autonomous. This is not only erosion of the basic structure of the Constitution of India but also an open challenge to sovereignty and integrity of the nation. It is apparent that he has well-planned to disintegrate the country in a diplomatic way by posing himself as apostle of unity and peace on one hand whereas on the other hand he is axing the roots of the Centre. This demand is like the Anandpur Sahib Resolution passed by Shiromani Akali Dal on 18.10.1973, for more empowerment and a federal structure. In case greater autonomy is granted to J&K, arising of similar demand by other States in the country cannot be ruled out.

He is no doubt a leader of the Muslims who have their major population in the J&K but it remains a fact that the other minority communities like Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians and other people living in the valley feel insecure due to unabetted killings. Rather; they will be more safe and secure in J&K with its integration with India.

Recently, he had also said that until and unless the State is granted greater autonomy, peace cannot be established in the State. It is thus obvious that whatever insurgency is going on in the State it is all due to lack of seriousness on the part of the State Government to deal firmly with the menace of terrorism. It is beyond doubt that our neighbour Pakistan is harbouring desire to separate J&K from India, and Pakistan will leave no chance to lure J&K into its fold.

The gravity of the situation warrants that the Centre curbs sternly the treason and anti-India activities in Jammu & Kashmir and promulgates President’s rule. At the same time abrogation of Article 370 is necessary since the same was a temporary provision.



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