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Current Affairs 10 April 2017



10 April 2017

Sr. No.





States pan ‘politicisation' of Governor's role



Teesta waters can't be shared: Mamata



Indian team in U.S. for defence technology talks









States pan ‘politicisation' of Governor's role

  • The Standing Committee of the Inter-State Council (ISC), led by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, discussed the discretionary powers of the Governor during government formation, tenure of governors and a host of other issues.
  • The meeting of the Standing Committee of the ISC was held after a gap of 12 years.
  • The meeting comes against the backdrop of renewed discussions on the role of Governors after the BJP formed governments in Goa and Manipur despite not having a majority.
  • According to the M.M. Punchhi Commission's recommendations on Centre-State relations, which were considered at the meeting, the Governor should follow clear guidelines in the appointment of a chief minister by sticking to a "clear order of preference".
  • The commission has recommended that a Chief Minister should be asked to prove his majority within a clear time limit before he is dismissed.
  • In such a scenario, the Chief Minister should prove his majority within five days to a maximum of 30 days, it has said.
  • Some States wanted a fixed cooling-off period for retired bureaucrats and judges before they are appointed Governors.
  • According to an internal note of the Inter-State Council, Bihar has called the role of a Governor "redundant", while a few other States felt that Governors should have no role in governance or politics of the State under their charge.
  • Bihar has said the post of Governor should be abolished, while Gujarat and Haryana feel the present parameters with regard to qualification of the Governor suffice.
  • Punjab has said that while appointing the Governor, State government should be consulted.
  • As many as 19 States have given their suggestions on the eligibility criteria for the post of Governor.
  • There was a general consensus among the States that politicisation of the post of Governor was taking place which was "unhealthy" for Centre-State relations.
  • On another controversial issue of granting prosecution sanction against a member of the Council of Ministers under Section 197 CrPC, seven States, including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, contested the Punchhi Commission's recommendation that the Governor should follow Supreme Court interpretation that a Governor is not bound by the advice of the Council
  • Home Minister Singh is believed to have told the meeting that the powers of Governor, criteria for selection and his impeachment should largely be left untouched. Finance Minister Jaitley is learnt to have supported Mr. Singh's position.
  • According to an internal note of the Inter-State Council on deployment of security forces in States, 18 of them agreed to the suggestion of the Punchhi Commission that the Centre must protect States from internal and external disturbances.
  • The recommendations of the Standing Committee, finalised at this meeting, will be placed before the Inter-State Council headed by the Prime Minister.

Inter State Council

  • It is a constitutional body set up on the basis of provisions in Article 263 of the Constitution of India.
  • The body was formed by a Presidential Order dated 28 May 1990 on recommendation of Sarkaria Commission.
  • The Council is formed to discussing or investigating policies, subjects of common interest, and disputes, among states.
  • The Inter State Council comprises of the following members:

1.      Prime Minister, Chairman.

2.      Chief Ministers of states and union territories.

3.      Administrators of union territories.

4.     Six members of Cabinet rank

M.M. Punchhi Commission Recommendations

  • 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 to take a fresh look at relative roles and responsibilities of various levels of government and their inter-relations.
  • This commission had submitted its report in 2010.
  • Some major recommendations of the MM Punchhi Commission are:

1.     Concurrent List subjects

There should be a mechanism whereby the centre consults states before introducing a bill on concurrent list items. This consultation mechanism should be through inter-state council. Centre should occupy only that much of subjects in concurrent list or any other overlapping jurisdiction which is absolutely needed to achieve uniformity of policy in national interest.

2.      On President's Pocket Veto

Once a bill is passed in legislative assembly and then reserved by the governor for president's consideration, President applies pocket veto in several cases. No communication is given to the state which is baffling for states. Thus, there should be mechanism so that president communicates his decision in reasonable time {6 months).

3.     Treaty Making Power of Union There is a need of some kind of legislation to regulate the treaty making power of union executive with respect to treaties which have anything to do with the matters listed in state list. There should be greater involvement of states in such treaties.

4.     Appointment of Chief Ministers There should be clear guidelines for the appointment of chief ministers, so that there is sort of regulation on discretionary power of Governor. A pre-poll alliance should be treated as one political party, because that lays down the order of precedence that ought to be followed by the governor in case of a hung house as follows: The group with the largest pre-poll alliance commanding the largest number; The single largest party with support of others; The post-electoral coalition with all parties joining the government The post electoral alliance with some parties joining the government and remaining including Independents supporting from outside.

5.     Appointment of Governor The Punchhi commission recommended that the person who is slated to be a Governor should not have participated in active politics at even local level for at least a couple of years before his appointment. We note that Sarkaria Commission had also recommended that governor be an eminent person and not belong to the state where he is to be posted. State chief minister should have a say in the appointment of governor. Appointment of governor should be entrusted to a committee comprising the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha and chief minister of the concerned state. The Vice- President can also be involved in the process.

6.     Removal of Governor For office of Governor, the doctrine of pleasure should end and should be deleted from the constitution. Governor should not be removed at whim of central government. Instead, a resolution by state legislature should be there to remove Governor. The report supported the right of the Governor to give sanction for the prosecution of ministers against the advice of the state government.  There should be provisions for impeachment of the Governor by the state legislature along the same lines as that of President by President. (Goes against doctrine of pleasure)

7.     Governor as Chancellor of Universities The convention of making the Governors as chancellors of universities should be done away with.

8.     Article 355 and 356 Article 355 and 356 should be amended. Via these amendments, the Centre should be enabled to bring specific troubled areas under its rule for a limited period. This means that the commission recommended for "localising emergency provisions" under Articles 355 and 356, contending that localised areas - either a district or parts of a district - be brought under Governor's rule instead of the whole state. The duration of such an emergency provision should however not be of duration of more than three months.

9.     National Integration Council For internal security, commission recommended creation of an overriding structure on the lines of the US Home­land Security department, giving more teeth to the National Integration Council. This council should meet at least once a year. In case of any communal incident, a delegation of five members of the Council, who would be eminent persons, should visit the affected area within two days. However, it rejected constitutional status to NIC.

10.          Communal Violence Bill The commission recommended that the Communal Violence Bill should be amended to allow deployment of Central forces without the state's consent for a short period. The state consent should not become a hurdle in deployment of central forces in a communal conflagration. However, such deployment should only be for a week and post-facto consent should be taken from the state.



Teesta waters can't be shared: Mamata

  • Expressing her displeasure at the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, on the Teesta, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the river is the lifeline of north Bengal which can't be taken away.
  • "There is very little water in Teesta river, it is our lifeline, the lifeline of north Bengal," Ms. Banerjee said.
  • She said other trans-national rivers could be diverted to attend to Bangladesh's water needs. "Your problem is water, not Teesta. I am willing to look at any alternative proposal. There are many other rivers in the area, we can use water from them," she said.
  • The Teesta runs through West Bengal and Bangladesh and if a treaty is signed it would allow for equal share of water.
  • Bangladesh welcomed Mr. Modi's commitment to an early solution on the Teesta.


Indian team in U.S. for defence technology talks

  • A Defence Ministry delegation is in the U.S. to discuss the entire range of cooperation under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).
  • Nine working groups have been established under the initiative, which aims to promote co-development and co-production of military technologies for use by both countries.
  • The latest group set up recently is on new naval systems, such as sonars and sonobuoys, which are of interest to India.
  • Underwater surveillance systems such as sonars and sonobuoys are of particular interest to India as it is augmenting its capabilities to keep track of the increasing Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean.
  • A senior official observed that some niche technologies with the U.S. can be accessed through the mechanism and various possibilities are being explored.



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