The BJP-led government's recent call for the resignation of the UPA-appointed NDMA has come after the spurt of resignations of state governors across the country. Incidently, special CBI director K Salim Ali, one of the members of the NDMA who was asked to leave, investigated the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case.
It started with the UP governor BL Joshi quitting which was followed by the stepping down of Chhatisgarh governor Shekhar Dutt, today. This move by the NDA to remove all officials appointed by the previous UPA government does not come as a surpise as the UPA followed the same policy when they took over in 2004.
Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan also let the cat out of the bag when he admitted that the Home secretary called him to resign. He also added that he would not quit unless he was told to by a responsible authority. Rumours suggest that Kerala governor Sheila Dixit, Maragret Alva of Rajasthan and Kamla Benival of Gujarat might be next in line to offer their resignation to the President.
This brings up the question of whether this move by the NDA government is adivsable. Ironically it was BJP MP BP Singhal who had approached the apex court when the UPA government followed the same polivy in 2004. The apex court clearly said that the President can remove any governor at any time without a reason though this must not be used in an arbitrary manner.The order further says: "Nor can he be removed on the ground that the Union government has lost confidence in him. It follows, therefore, that a 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."
The governors in turn can approach the court in ask for a judicial review which will call for an explanation by the President to state the grounds on which they were removed.
The NDA asking for the resignation of UPA-appointed governors clearly shows that anyone who is not atune to the ideologies of the ruling party will have to demit office. The post of the governor is constitutional and is often compared to that of the President. Governors are appointed by the President. Constant change or replacement in this position leads to instability. Are we in some way alluding to the US style of governance where every time there is a change in administration, there is a change in the bureaucracy?
The vacancies in turn would be used to alleviate disgruntled BJP leaders like Yashwant Sinha, Lalji Tandon, Kailash Joshi who did not contest the elections.