CHENNAI: The declaration of the State ministers that there is “nothing wrong” in Governor Banwarilal Purohit holding meetings with State government officials makes the meetings legal, an opinion on the contentious matter released by Raj Bhavan said on Tuesday. Raj Bhavan said the opinion was sought by Purohit last November, after his meeting with officials in Coimbatore, from a Mumbai-based advocate and Maharastra’s former Advocate- General Shreehari Aney.
Aney underlines that the Governor can exercise his executive powers only on the aid and the advice of the Council of Ministers. So was it not mandatory that the Governor can hold any meeting only if advised by the Council of Ministers? Aney points out that Purohit had asked the Chief Secretary and the Revenue Commissioner to call such a meeting. But he argues that since the ministers were aware of the meetings and that they later declared that there is “nothing wrong” with the meetings, this amounts to “waiver of the pre-condition.”
“Additionally, if the aid and advice (of the council of ministers) is to be seen as a pre-condition to the Governor’s action, and if such a post-facto ratification would not suffice, then the Ministers’ statement that there was nothing wring with such a meeting would be treated as waiver of the pre-condition,” Aney argues.
Purohit has been facing criticisms from the Opposition over his regular meetings with the district-level officials since the meetings were considered as infringing on the powers of State governments.
On the criticism that there was no such precedent, Aney said, “Every precedent must, at some time have been an act that was performed for the first time. Its repetition over the years gave it the character of precedent.”
Underlining that the Governor was only “familiarising” himself with the State, Aney states that the Governor did not attempt to “review the workings of the department, or criticise or comment on the work done.” He said that only if the Governor, without approaching the concerned minister or his Council of Ministers, instructs the officials, it becomes illegal.