Polity and Governance

Power of Governor in Hung Assembly

Role of Governor in Karnataka
•In the recent Assembly Elections in Karnataka, no single party got majority to form the government.
•BJP won 104 of the 222 constituencies and emerged as a single largest party.
•The Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) won 78 and 37 seats respectively.
•Governor invited BJP to form the government.
•Whether the single largest party or the leader claiming majority with post-poll alliance should be invited to form the new government.
 
Role of Governor in J&K
•J&K Governor dissolved the State Assembly, which has been on suspended animation, after former Chief Minister and PDP patron Mehbooba Mufti staked the claim to form a government with the support of the Congress and the National Conference.
 
Constitutional Provisions
•Article 164(1):  The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister, and the Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor.
•Article 172: Every Legislative Assembly of every State, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for five years from the date appointed for its first meeting
•Article 174(2) : The Governor may from time to time
     (a) Prorogue the House or either House;
     (b) dissolve the Legislative Assembly
 
Presidential Rule
•Article 356
     Provisions in case of failure of constitutional machinery in State
     (1) If the President, on receipt of report from the Governor of the State or otherwise, is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with he provisions of this Constitution, the President may be Proclamation
          (a) assume to himself all or any of the functions of the Government of the State and all or any of the powers vested in or exercisable by the Governor or any body or authority in the State other than the Legislature of the State;
          (b) declare that the powers of the Legislature of the State shall be exercisable by or under the authority of Parliament;
•In case of J&K powers under Section 92 (failure of Constitutional Machinery) and Section 52 (provides for dissolution of assembly) of J& K Constitution were invoked.
 
Supreme Court Judgements
•S R Bommai Case (1994)
     •Discussed at length provisions of Article 356 of the Constitution of India
     •The majority enjoyed by the Council of Ministers shall be tested on the floor of the House.
     •Centre should give a warning to the state and a time period of one week to reply.
     •Article 356 is justified only when there is a breakdown of constitutional machinery and not administrative machinery
     •dismissal of state government was subject to judicial review
•Rameshwar Prasad Case (2006)
     •Governor can’t shut out the post-poll alliance
     •Unsubstantiated claims of horse trading or corruption can’t be the ground to dissolve the assembly
 
Sarkaria Commission (1983)
•It was formed in 1983 and it provided a detailed report which discusses the Role of Governor.
•If there is a single party having an absolute majority in the Assembly, the leader of the party should automatically be asked to become the Chief Minister.
•However, if there is no such party, the Governor should select a Chief Minister from among the following parties or group of parties by sounding them, in turn, in the order of preference indicated below:
     •An alliance of parties that was formed prior to the Elections.
     •The largest single party staking a claim to form the government with the support of others, including “independents.”
     •A post-electoral coalition of parties, with all the partners in the coalition joining the Government.
     •A post-electoral alliance of parties, with some of the parties in the alliance forming a Government and the remaining parties, including “independents” supporting the Government from outside.
 
Punchhi commission recommendation in case of Hung Assembly 
In April 2007, a three member commission headed by the former chief justice of India M.M. Punchhi was set up by the UPA Government. The report was submitted in 2010.   The Commission recommended
     (a) The party or combination of parties which commands the widest support in the Legislative Assembly should be called upon to form the Government.
     (b) If there is a pre-poll alliance or coalition, it should be treated as one political party and if such coalition obtains a majority, the leader of such coalition shall be called by the Governor to form the Government.
     (c) In case no party or pre-poll coalition has a clear majority, the Governor should select the Chief Minister in the order of preference indicated below:
          •the group of parties which had pre-poll alliance commanding the largest number;
          •the largest single party staking a claim to form the government with the support of others;
          •a post-electoral coalition with all partners joining the government; and
          •a post-electoral alliance with some parties joining the government and the remaining including independents supporting the government from outside



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