Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Sunday questioned the constitutional need for the Governor's office.
The party has repeatedly demanded the post's abolishment. However, the principles of federalism governed the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) administration in Kerala. The Centre’s diktats also bind it.
The CPI(M)'s political programme stated that if Governors were a constitutional imperative, national legislation should empower States to elect them via a representative electoral college. Earlier, Communist Party of India (CPI) State secretary Kanam Rajendran had also espoused a similar view.
Mr. Balakrishnan's words assumed political significance against the backdrop of the government's high-profile and politically charged dispute with the Raj Bhavan over a host of issues, including university appointments and pension for personal staff of ministers.
Last week, the Cabinet also expounded a similar view to the Justice Madan Mohan Punchhi Commission appointed by the Central government to report on the need for a reset in the Central-State relationship.
Kerala demanded the Centre empower legislatures to remove Governors from their post if they failed to uphold constitutional values, discharge chancellors’ duties, and thwart criminal prosecution measures.
The Cabinet sought national legislation to introduce a resolution in the Assembly demanding the dismissal of an "erring" Governor from the post. It had earlier vetted the Law Secretary's report to the commission. The government suggested that the Centre divest the Governor off statutory posts, including the chancellor.
The government demanded that pursuing active politics should not disqualify a person from being considered for Governor. The Centre should keep the State in the loop while appointing Governors. It should empower legislatures to impeach Governors if lawmakers find them wanting constitutionally. The Centre should limit the discretionary powers of the Governor on legislative matters.
Kerala also demanded that the Centre apportion Rajya Sabha seats equitably to States and not fix the number of MPs based on population. It also said that the Centre should ratify any decision to dismiss a State government via a vote in Parliament.
The Centre should not deploy paramilitary forces to quell law and order issues without the explicit sanction of the State government. Kerala also informed the commission that university was strictly a State subject.