Government vs Governors: Who is resigning next?

Last Updated: Tue, Jun 17, 2014 16:28 hrs

New Delhi: Amid reports that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government wants Governors appointed by the previous Congress-led UPA government to resign, Uttar Pradesh Governor BL Joshi on Tuesday tendered his resignation.

Joshi sent his resignation letter to the Union Home Ministry today afternoon.

Reports say that the newly-formed government is mulling changing the Governors in Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and West Bengal.

But, the apex court judgement of May 7, 2010 given in the case of BP Singhal versus Union of India clearly says a Governor cannot be removed on grounds that he is out of sync with the policies and ideologies of the Union government or the party in power at the Centre.

Though the president can remove the governors any time without assigning any reason and without giving any reason to show cause, the power under Article 156 (1) cannot be exercised in an arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable manner.

The order says: "Nor can he be removed on the ground that the Union government has lost confidence in him. It follows therefore that change in government at the Centre is not a ground for removal of governors holding office to make way for others favoured by the new government."

At present, former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, BL Joshi, Ram Naresh Yadav, MK Narayanan and Shivraj Patil are Governors of Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, and Punjab respectively.

Feelers were reportedly sent to Kerala Governor Sheila Dikshit, who has allegedly refused to quit.

I cannot react to rumours, she reportedly said.

Dikshit, a former three-time Chief Minister, was made Kerala Governor in March after she led the Congress to a humiliating defeat in 2013 Assembly Election in Delhi. The party had suffered a severe drubbing, winning a paltry eight seats in the 70-member Assembly after ruling the city for 15 consecutive years.

News reports are also stating that West Bengal Governor MK Narayanan is likely to resign within 24 hours and those who refuse likely to be transferred.

According to reports, Dikshit could be shifted to a smaller state by the new BJP government.

Going by the buzz, MM Joshi could be the new Governor of Maharashtra and Jaswant Singh, who contested the General Elections as an Independent candidate from Barmer, may be appointed as the Governor of Tamil Nadu. 

Three UPA-appointed governors are likely to meet President Pranab Mukherjee later in the day to get some relief from from Modi government's pressure to vacate their chairs.

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