Kerala Governor wants Finance Minister sacked, what this means constitutionally

As per Article 164 of the Indian Constitution, the ministers shall hold office “during the pleasure of the Governor”.
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan
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Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has written to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan informing that he has "ceased to enjoy pleasure" in Finance Minister K N Balagopal, indicating that he wants the minister sacked. In his letter to the CM, the Governor alleged that Balagopal delivered a speech at a University campus here on October 19, seeking to stoke the fire of regionalism and provincialism and undermining the unity of India and he was left with no option but to convey that the Finance Minister has "ceased to enjoy my pleasure". He also directed the Chief Minister to take action which is constitutionally appropriate.

“I have merely said that I have withdrawn pleasure. I am now telling the Chief Minister to decide,” he said. Balagopal had said that a person hailing from Uttar Pradesh cannot understand Kerala. 

What is withdrawal of pleasure?

As per Article 164 of the Indian Constitution, it is on the advice of the Chief Minister that the Governor appoints ministers. The ministers shall hold office “during the pleasure of the Governor”.

So can the Governor sack a minister?

A Governor can technically withdraw that pleasure. But constitutional experts say that a Governor does not have unilateral power to remove a minister.

“Technically speaking, if the Governor withdraws the pleasure, the minister concerned will cease to hold the office. But again, the Chief Minister also has the power to reinstate that minister, since the Governor has little say on the appointments to the Cabinet. His power is only in regard to the continuity of the minister’s term,” advocate George Poonthottam told TNM.

Others believe the Governor's discretionary powers are very narrow and the Governor has no power to dismiss a Minister.

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