The apex court had elaborated on the ‘discretionary’ powers of a Governor
The directive of Arunachal Pradesh Governor Tathagata Roy to the Chief Minister Nabam Tuki goes against the spirit of the latest Supreme Court judgment which said that a Governor may ask a Chief Minister to test the majority support on the floor of the House within a reasonable time.
“The reasonable time could be within 30 days [unless there is some urgency such as passing the annual budget] but should not exceed 60 days”, the apex court verdict on the Arunachal Pradesh case said, elaborating on the ‘discretionary’ powers of a Governor.
On the unilateral power of the Governor to summon the Legislative Assembly, the apex court has said that it could be exercised only in three situations:
1. When the Chief Minister designedly fails to advise the summoning of the Assembly within six months of its last sitting, or advises its summoning for a date falling beyond this period
2. When the Chief Minister, unless he is the leader of a party that has an absolute majority in the Legislative Assembly, does not seek a vote of confidence within 30 days of taking over
3. When it appears to the Governor that the incumbent Ministry no longer enjoys the confidence of the Assembly
“He [the Governor] may ask the Chief Minister to test his majority support on the floor of the House within a reasonable time. The reasonable time could be within 30 days [unless there is some urgency such as passing the annual budget] but should not exceed 60 days”, it said.
Disapproving of the verdict of the Gauhati HC in upholding the Governor’s report and the action of the President under Article 356, the apex court has said that the Governor’s report is totally unsustainable in law.
“The Constitution does not create an obligation that the political party forming the ministry should necessarily have a majority in the Legislature. Minority Governments are not unknown. What is necessary is that that government should enjoy the confidence of the House. This aspect does not appear to have been kept in mind by the Governor.”
Keywords: Arunachal Pradesh, Tathagata Roy, Nabam Tuki
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