Rajasthan political crisis: Governor is bound by cabinet’s advice, say constitutional experts

Experts say Rajasthan governor should call Assembly session to conduct the floor test.

Published: 25th July 2020 08:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th July 2020 08:00 AM   |  A+A-

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot along with Congress leaders outside Raj Bhawan in Jaipur | PTI

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Even as the political crisis in Rajasthan getting murkier, constitutional experts have opined that the governor has to abide by the advice of the council of ministers, and will have to call the session of the assembly according to the constitution so that the ruling government can prove its majority.

Former secretary-general and constitutional expert P D T Achary said: “The governor is a constitutional authority, and his role is to summon, dissolve and provoke the House, and nothing beyond that as far as proceedings of the House are concerned.” “If the governor has any doubts about how the proceedings of the House would be conducted in times of the pandemic, he can always seek the clarification from the government and give a nod to conduct the House as sought by the council of ministers,” Achary added.
He said the powers of a governor and his/her role is categorically defined in the constitution, and he will have to abide by the same under all circumstances.

Echoing the views, senior Supreme Court advocate Menaka Guruswamy said: The nine-judge bench ruling in the S R Bommai  case makes it clear that the governor must call the session of the House so that government’s confidence can be tested on the floor.” The ruling made it clear that the floor of the assembly is the only forum that should test the majority of the government of the day and not the subjective opinion of the governor.

If the governor is worried about how the proceedings of the House will take place then he can seek the clarity from the chief minister and maybe, a virtual house can be called, but not calling the house or sitting at the request is not in the domain of the governor at all.” In April, the Supreme Court too had clarified that position, upholding the governor’s call for a trust vote in Madhya Pradesh, which led to the fall of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government.

A two-judge bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta had said the governor, in extraordinary circumstances, can call for a floor test, even when the disqualification proceedings of the MLAs are pending before the Speaker, if the governor objectively considers that the government is on shaky ground.

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