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Governors: Why wait for dismissal?

The editorial “Why this fuss?” (July 3) aptly sums up that “Governors should have on their own offered to quit. In democratic countries, political appointees routinely resign when there is a change of government.” But it is ridiculous that persons occupying the exalted office of Governor should refuse to read the writing on the wall and wait for their ignominious ouster. They themselves are to blame for it.

To gain political mileage, the Opposition has raked up the issue of removal of four Governors on the ground of violation of the principle of “fixed tenure” and “convention”. The Constitution does not provide for any such “fixed tenure”. As for conventions, the stalwarts of the Opposition should look at their own record in the appointment and removal of Governors. It is a sad commentary that the Centre is yet to evolve the required convention to shape and influence decisions in this regard.

The Centre’s practice of consulting the Chief Minister on a Governor’s appointment was abandoned after 1967 elections when Dharam Vira (West Bengal), B.N. Chakravarthi (Haryana), Nityanand Kanungo (Bihar), Ramlal (Andhra Pradesh), and Jagmohan (Jammu and Kashmir) were appointed against the wishes of the Chief Ministers of the respective states. Prabhudas Patwari (Tamil Nadu, 1980) and Raghukul Tilak (Rajasthan,1981) were peremptorily dismissed. Mr T.N. Singh (West Bengal) was forced to resign in 1982. After the Ninth Lok Sabha elections, the Janata Dal government did the same thing. Why this uproar now?

 

 

 

The suggestion in the editorial that “distinction has to be made between those appointed from among politicians and those who are known for their integrity and administrative acumen,” is subjective and debatable. It is difficult to separate the grains from the chaff. Hence, a most sensible course would be to evolve an all-party consensus to make it obligatory for all political appointees including Governors to resign gracefully after every change of guard at the Centre.

Prof K.R. DHARELA, Solan

II

The erstwhile BJP-led NDA government did not remove Governors appointed by the previous government, except two who were appointed by the caretaker government. Thus, the NDA tried to establish healthy democratic tradition in line with the recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission and endorsed by the Constitution Review Commission. The BJP is certainly not responsible for the misdeeds of Indira Gandhi who sacked Governors appointed by the previous government at her whim.

Since the Manmohan Singh government has chosen the path of confrontation with the BJP and the NDA, the Opposition would be fully justified to pay them in the same coin. It is more a case of give and take between the Congress and the BJP, the two major national parties. The Congress is doing a great disservice to the nation by breaking the healthy tradition set by the BJP.

ANAND PRAKASH, Panchkula

III

The editorial “Why this fuss” tends to justify the action of the present government in dismissing the Governors of four states on the jargon of legal and constitutional provisions. It overlooks the fact that once a politician is appointed to a particular post, he ceases to belong to any political party and he should not be disturbed unless his conduct warrants it. Simply because he had a background which the present government did not like, it cannot sack him and create an atmosphere of tension and confrontation. This does not auger well for the country and society.

Dr Manmohan Singh’s government would have done well to channellise its energies in a more productive manner than to create an atmosphere of confrontation. It should have dropped the tainted ministers with criminal background instead of indulging in this avoidable step.

O.P. GUPTA, Panchkula

IV

The Centre has sacked four Governors on the ground that they have links with the RSS and that their ideology is not compatible with that of the new government at the Centre. This is unfortunate. Two questions arise: Is it a crime for one to have links with the RSS? And is the RSS a banned organisation?

What sort of ideology the Governors are expected to preach? The Governors have no ideology of their own. The new government has set a bad precedent. The action is undemocratic and unconstitutional. This can also be interpreted as a conspiracy. The centre could destabilise the state governments by getting reports against them from the newly appointed Governors.

The step is wrought with dangerous consequences. It has, certainly, lowered the dignity of the office of the Governors who have been shabbily treated for no fault of theirs. They have been appointed for a fixed tenure and have been axed like bonded labourers.

M.L. ANAND, Ludhiana

In the right direction

The present efforts by the Muslim Personal Law Board to reform the personal law to stop the abominable practice of triple talaq are a move in the right direction. The personal laws in our country are heavily weighed against the interests of the women, irrespective of the religious community. As the process of reform has to be from the grassroot level, most bodies, which deal with this issue, do it with empathy for the cause of the women.

The Muslim community, in particular, has more challenges in personal law. As it has been the major victim of violence, its major attention has been focussed on the physical and social survival. Muslims preferring to live in the Muslim majority areas for the sake of security, have put into motion a process by which the orthodox sections become more dominant in the community. Also a threatened community tries to go into a shell and preserve the symbols of its identity.

Despite these handicaps, it is imperative that gender justice is given primacy in these laws. Also such bodies presiding over the personal laws should have a good number of women as members to ensure that their opinions are reflected in the reforms being envisaged.

Prof Ram Puniyani, Mumbai


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