A Governor, though he holds the post for more than one state, is still the Governor for all of the states.

There is no part-time or full-time Governor Busting the myths in TNs opposition rhetoricPTI
Voices Opinion Friday, May 05, 2017 - 17:44

There are voices from different quarters on the derailment in administration, and various top postings being unfilled, because of the non-availability of what they call the “full-time Governor for Tamil Nadu”. Except, the basic premise of this argument is flawed.

A social activist, Anbazhagan, filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court seeking appointment of a full-time Governor for Tamil Nadu, which has been diligently dismissed at the first go.

To argue or speak constitutionally, there is no such concept of a “full-time” Governor or “part-time” Governor.

Article 153 of the Constitution of India titled ‘Governors of States’ reads:

There shall be Governor for each State: Provided that nothing in this article shall prevent the appointment of the same person as Governor for two or more States.

Therefore, a Governor, though he holds the post for more than one state, is still the Governor for all of the states. That de-facto makes him a “full-time” Governor of both the states, and there is no notion of a Governor being a “full-time” Governor for one state and being a “part-time” Governor for another.

Now, in the administrative aspects, there are voices from Veeramani, the president of the Dravidar Kazhagam, MK Stalin, the working president of the DMK, and various others in the state on how Tamil Nadu is suffering without the non-existent phenomenon of a “full-time” Governor.

The petitioner of the above writ petition, Anbazhagan, also pointed out various instances where many appointments are being delayed because of the Governor as reported in the Deccan Chronicle (08.04.2017).

I would like to give a point by point rebuttal to what is being claimed by various quarters. It is unacceptable that to take political pot-shots, the inefficiency of the state government and the opposition parties is being wrongly attributed to the Governor, who is no one but a figurehead.

This is nothing but an escapism tactic of the inefficient lot. Social media is abuzz with organised propaganda against the Governor of Tamil Nadu accusing him of various things in which he doesn’t even have a say.

Accusation 1: There is a delay in RTI Applications being addressed since there is no “full-time” Governor.

I’ve already explained that there is no concept of part-time or full-time Governor in India. Now, RTI applications are being claimed to have been pending in the office of the Governor without being attended to and given a reply.

The fact is the Governor plays no role in dealing with the petitions made under the Right to Information Act. An Officer designated as Public Information Officer is supposed to deal with the RTI Applications and if there is any appeal, that will be dealt with by the Principal Secretary to the Governor, who happens to be the Appellate Authority.

Also, statistically speaking, between the period of September 2016, when the Governor took charge, to March 2017, the Chennai Raj Bhavan has received 174 petitions under Right to Information Act. On all of them, action has already been taken by the Governor’s office.

Accusation 2: Appointment of members of the State Human Rights Commission is pending because of Governor’s inaction.

It is claimed as per the Deccan Chronicle article that the petitioner stated that because of the non-availability of a “full-time” Governor, the appointment of the Members of the State Human Rights Commission is pending.

But the fact is that the files for the appointment of members of the State Human Rights Commission have not yet been sent to the Governor by the state government. Without even sending the files to the Governor, how can someone expect an appointment to be made?

How can someone blame the Governor of the State for the inefficiency of the state government? It is pertinent to note that the membership of SHRC has been vacant since August 2016. It should also be noted that the present Chairman of the Commission will hold the office till November 2019, and there is no trouble with it.

Accusation 3: Vacancy in the Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women.

Firstly, the appointment of Chairperson and 8 Members to this Commission do not come under the ambit of the Governor.

The appointing authority for this Commission is the state government. It is shocking to know that since January 2016, all the posts of this Commission (1 Chairperson and 8 Members) are lying vacant. This showcases the inefficiency of the present state government. Attributing this to Governor is absurd and meaningless.

Accusation 4: Vacancy in the Tamil Nadu Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

Like in the above case, even for this Commission, the appointing authority is the state government and not the Governor. The posts of the Chairperson and 6 Members of the commission are lying vacant, again exposing the inefficiency of the state dispensation.

Though the State Government is the major culprit, leaving so many posts vacant, it is also shocking to know that the opposition parties are not raising their voice over these important issues.

Therefore, activists should first put up a fight against the state government and opposition parties for their deliberate inefficiency and class maladministration when it comes to the the various Commissions and wings of the government, rather than the mad act of training guns against the Governor.

Note: Opinions expressed by the writer are his own.

The writer is an advocate practising in the High Court of Madras & Vice President of BJYM (BJP Youth Wing) of Tamil Nadu.

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