Governor’s discretion cannot be arbitrary or fanciful: SC Constitution Bench

Why in News?

The Supreme Court ordered the appointment of a pro-tem Speaker to conduct a floor test to decide the majority in the Karnataka Assembly.

 

FACTS FOR PRELIMS

Constitutional Provision

Article 180 (1) of the Constitution gives the Governor the power to appoint a pro-tem Speaker. The Article says that if the chair of the Speaker falls vacant and there is no Deputy Speaker to fill the position, the duties of the office shall be performed “by such member of the Assembly as the Governor may appoint for the purpose”.

 

Article 163(2) of the Constitution mandates that “the validity of anything done by the Governor shall not be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion”.

 

Discretionary Powers of the Governor

The Constitution makes it clear that if any question arises whether a matter falls within the Governor discretion or not, the decision of the Governor is Final.

 

However, the Five judge Bench Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, in the NabamRebiajudgement of 2016 ruled that Article 163 does not give Governors a “general discretionary power”  i.e the area for the exercise of Governor discretion is limited; his choice of action should not be arbitrary or fanciful.

 

NOTE4STUDENTS-The Rebia case dealt with the problem of the Arunachal Pradesh Governor advancing the date for the sixth Assembly session in the northeastern State.

 

Constitutional Discretion

i)Reservation of a Bill for the consideration of the President.

ii)Recommendation for the Imposition of the President’s Rule in the state.

iii)While exercising his functions as the administrator of an adjoining union territory.

iv)Seeking information from the Chief Minister with regard to the administrative and legislative matters of the state.

 

Situational Discretion

i)Appointment of Chief Minister when no party has a clear majority.

ii)Dismissal of the Council of Ministers when it cannot prove the confidence of the state legislative assembly.

iii)Dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly if the Council of Ministers has lost its majority.

 

Pro-Tem Speaker

As provided by the Constitution, the Speaker of the Last Lok Sabha vacates his office immediately before the first meeting of the newly elected Lok Sabha. Therefore the President appoints a member of the Lok Sabha as the Speaker Pro Tem. Usually, the seniormost member is selected for this. The President himself administers the oath to the Speaker Pro Tem.

 

Powers

The Speaker Pro Tem has all the powers of the speaker . He presides over the first sitting of the newly elected Lok Sabha .His main duty is to administer the oath to the new members .He also enables the house to elect the new speaker .

 

Source-The Hindu.