What is the article about:
- Tussle between Elected (Chief Minister) and Appointed Representative (Governor).
- GSII: Federalism; Governor; Governance.
What is the issue:
- Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan’s outburst against the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) and its functionaries including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan marks an escalation in tensions between him and the elected government.
- Until now, the Governor and CM had maintained a functional relationship despite their apparent differences.
- At the heart of the current flare up is Kannur University’s controversial decision to appoint the wife of Mr. Vijayan’s private secretary as an associate professor.
- Then the Governor held a press conference and talked about this issue publicly. Now whether the Governor should criticise the elected government or not sparked new debate.
- As an unelected appointee of the Centre, a Governor of a State is expected to appreciate the popular mandate of the elected government.
- By going public with his views, Mr. Khan has precipitated a situation which should have been avoided.
- One can debate whether a Governor is mandated to enforce standards of governance, but Mr. Khan is evidently not restrained.
- He had raised a hue and cry over the practice of State pensions to political appointees who serve as personal staff of Ministers for 30 months.
- Mr. Khan has now locked horns with the LDF over governance questions related to universities and the crippling of the Lok Ayukta, the anti-corruption ombudsman that might lose its powers to punish the State Assembly. The Governor has made it clear that he will not be signing two Acts, one related to higher education and one on LokAyukta. Regardless of the Assembly’s powers to make such laws, the moral case for doing so is rather tenuous.
- Electoral majority is the foundation of representative democracy, but institutional checks and balances are also its integral parts.
- The elected government and the Governor should both pipe down, and discuss these questions in a calm manner with the objective of seeking solutions and advancing the State’s development.