Centre can`t remove Governors arbitrarily: SC

SC disapproves practice of replacing Guvs after change at Centre.

Updated: May 08, 2010, 00:03 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: In a landmark decision, The Supreme Court on Friday disapproved the practice of replacing Governors after a new government comes to power at
the Centre, saying that Governors of states ‘cannot be changed in an arbitrary and capricious manner’.

A five-judge Constitution bench comprising of Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justices S H Kapadia, R V Raveendran, B Sudershan Reddy and P Sathasivam held that a Governor can be replaced only under "compelling" reasons for proven misconduct or other irregularities.

The apex court said though the Governor is appointed and remains in office at the pleasure of the President, he or she cannot be removed merely because they are "not in sync" with the party in power.

The bench said the Governor can be removed only under "compelling reasons" and what the compelling reasons are depends on facts and situations of a particular case.

The Centre had said that the Governors act as a bridge between the Centre and the state governments and as such they cannot disagree on their own with the views of the government.

Under the mandate of democracy if a particular party is voted to power with particular socio-economic agenda, the Governors cannot say they do not agree with that, it had

Appearing for the petitioner, former attorney general Soli J Sorabjee had questioned the removal of four Governors by the UPA government after NDA lost elections in 2004. He had said constitutional office holders should not be made sacrificial goats at the altar of electoral politics and should be treated with dignity they deserve.

He had suggested a fixed tenure for them or in case of removal, giving of proper reasons by President.

Pointing out the misuse of constitutional provisions by the ruling party to remove governors appointed by the previous regime, Sorabjee argued before the Supreme Court that it was time to lay down guidelines to stop governors being made political footballs.

"Governors cannot be made political footballs as they are appointed by the President not as an employee of the Central government," Sorabjee said before a five-judge constitution Bench.

The Bench was dealing with a five-year-old petition filed by then BJP MP BP Singhal challenging the removal of Governors of UP, Gujarat, Haryana and Goa by the President in July 2004 on the advice of the UPA-I government. The incumbent governors were Vishnu Kant Shastri, Babu Parmanand, Kailashpati Mishra and Kidar Nath Sahni.