Constitutional logjam in Tamil Nadu

The NDA government has been striking at the roots of federalism which is the bedrock of the Constitution. The present government is systematically usurping the rights of the states and taking unilateral and arbitrary decisions. Several instances in the recent past illustrate this deplorable trend. The ongoing confrontation between Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi and the state government bears testimony to the attempts to dilute the core values of federalism. His unwarranted actions – suggesting “Tamizhagam’ as the new name for Tamil Nadu and skipping certain portions in the Governor’s address to the Assembly – have created friction and triggered demands for his recall. The persons occupying gubernatorial positions must avoid situations where their conduct is called into question.

Ideally, they should serve as a bridge to resolve issues and provide leadership in protecting the constitutional interests of the states they serve. Unfortunately, the conduct of Ravi, a former IPS officer, has not inspired any confidence. The Governor’s impetuosity has angered the legislators of Tamil Nadu, a state known for strong regional feelings and resistance to the imposition of Hindi. It is gross misconduct on the part of the Governor to change the name of the state where he is expected to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. Earlier, similar instances of confrontation involving Governors were witnessed in West Bengal, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi. Such frictions would severely dent the image of the constitutional functionaries and make a mockery of democratic values. This is ironic, particularly against the backdrop of the Centre’s oft-repeated mantra of ‘Team India,’ a reference to cooperative federalism being the focus of the governance. A constitutional logjam appears imminent with the DMK government taking up the issue with President Droupadi Murmu.