Governors under scrutiny

Ever since the BJP government came to power at the center, they have used Governors to harass opposition-ruled states. In the last nine years, several opposition-ruled state governments have accused the ruling BJP of misusing the office of Governor for political activities and attempting to topple opposition governments. The latest confrontation between the DMK-led Tamil Nadu government and Governor RN Ravi, who has returned ten pending Bills to the state government, reflects a larger problem concerning the misuse of gubernatorial positions in the country.

Ravi has repeatedly shown utter disregard for the elected government since his appointment as the Governor.

The institution of the Raj Bhavan and the functioning style of those holding the constitutional position have come under increasing scrutiny in recent times. The schism between non-BJP-ruled state governments and Governors has been deepening, and questions are being raised over how the NDA government has been using Governors as political tools to harass governments ruled by political rivals. The Tamil Nadu Governor has sent back several Bills, passed by the State Assembly, deepening the confrontation. This is despite the Supreme Court recently voicing serious concern over the delay in giving assent to Bills cleared by the legislature. One of the important Bills Ravi has returned pertains to the power of the state government to appoint university vice-chancellors. As a result of the stand-off, the government has convened a special session of the Assembly to pass the Bills again. The Governor is constitutionally bound to approve them. Any attempt to cast doubt on the competence of the legislature would be fraught with great perils to democracy. This latest standoff has reignited the debate over the role of Governors.