President doesn’t preside, Governor doesn’t govern and Speaker doesn’t speak (speaks rarely to restore order)--- this is the famous quote of political scientists of yesteryears. This is the political system of the Parliamentary form of governments. Our Constitution has been created in such a way that these offices are created more as an ornamental one (except Speaker) than real. The Governor of a State is a Constitutional head and not the real head. He only represents the state and doesn’t govern.
The Governor holding a meeting with the district officials (on the sidelines of the convocation of the Bharathiar University) is unheard of in the 70 years of Independence and 67 years as a Republic. The Constituent Assembly debated the office of the Governor from an elected office to that of a selected office. They even suggested a Deputy Governor. Finally it was decided that the office of the Governor will be a replica of the President at the national level except election.
So many committees over the period of time have suggested the role and functions of the Governor in their reports on Union-state relations.
The holders of this high office in India ranges from men and women well known in all walks of public life to that of retired civil and defense personnel to politicians. The dismissal of all state Governors appointed by the Congress under Indira Gandhi by the National Front Government of VP Singh in 1989 was a wrong precedence.
When Congress assumed power in 1991 with Narasimha Rao as Prime Minister, he sacked the Governors appointed by VP Singh and Chandrasekhar Governments. This has
become a pattern now that whenever a new party assumes office at the centre they try to get rid of the Governors appointed by the previous government.
The Governor is a link between the union and the states. Besides making some appointments on the advice of the CM and his cabinet, his duty is to update the Union government about the implementation of the laws passed by the Parliament.
His role in the state is more a ceremonial one than real. The real executive in a state is the Chief Minister and his cabinet. They are the directly elected ones by the people. The people hold them responsible for the performance and non-performance. Good performance gives them a chance for ruling the state once more and the non-performance leads to the dislodging of the government and the party. The Governor is not even elected indirectly.
As the President cannot act independently in our Constitution so the Governor of a state. The role of the Governor is spelt out clearly in the Constitution. He can hold the government responsible by not giving his assent to a bill or by withholding a bill. He can also voice his concern in the Governor’s address that he delivers at the beginning of every session of the Assembly. When he thinks a particular matter has to be probed he can always invite the Chief Minister and any his cabinet colleagues.
It is also good to look at the role of the Constitutional heads of other countries. They play the role of a mentor or an advisor. The Constitutional head is expected to play a role of an advisor, mediator and a person who unifies the parties and factions in the state for common good. The role of the Governor is larger and he shouldn’t be doing micro-management.
— The writer is a socio-political analyst