Even as the debate over remarks made by West Bengal Governor M. K. Narayanan on the recent violence in the Bhangar area of South 24 Parganas district rages, Constitutional expert Subhash C. Kashyap has said that it was unfortunate that a Governor and his Council of Ministers “are speaking at cross-purposes in public.”
Mr. Narayanan had on Wednesday said that the violence was “distressing and disturbing” and nothing but “goondaism”. These remarks had drawn sharp criticism from senior Trinamool Congress leader and Minister Subrata Mukherjee on Thursday saying that it was “improper” of the Governor to have criticised the State Government. He had gone on to say that so far the State Government was only issuing a yellow card to the Governor, but a red one may follow.
Pointing out that the Constitution does not provide the rules of speech for either the Governor or Ministers, Dr. Kashyap said that as the Head of the State all executive power rests with the Governor.
“What happens between the Governor and his Council of Ministers is not in the public domain to the extent that even a Court of Law cannot ask that it be revealed. A situation should never arise where a Governor and his Ministers are speaking at cross-purposes in the public,” Dr. Kashyap told The Hindu over telephone.
The Governor is the Head of the State and is appointed by the President of the country. All executive powers rest with him to be discharged on the advice of his Council of Ministers except certain matters where he must act in his discretion, he added.
“I do not know first hand what Mr. Narayanan has said or the context of his speech, but he is a very senior and experienced person.” Dr. Kashyap added.
While Mr. Mukherjee’s remarks were criticised by both the Left and the Congress, even leaders within the party disagreed with his views.
While stating that Mr. Mukherjee was “an experienced politician who had said what he felt was correct,” senior Trinamool Congress MP Sougata Ray said that he agreed with the view that the Constitution has not prescribed what the Governor may or may not comment about.