The post of Governor in India has been a controversial one all along. No doubt the Governor acts as an agent of the central government and friction is inevitable when the ruling parties are different at the centre and the state. The controversy related to a governor is political in nature in normal course. The recent controversy in Meghalaya is an exception. So was the case with veteran politician ND Tiwari when he was the governor of Andhra Pradesh.
I thought of sharing some views on the V Shanmuganathan episode. Before that let’s look at some constitutional and legal aspects of the position of a Governor
1.”The Governor shall hold office during the pleasure of the President”
The Governor can be removed if the pleasure of the President expires.
- “However, this power cannot be exercised in an arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable manner. The power of removing Governors should only be exercised in rare and exceptional circumstances for valid and compelling reasons.”
Though the Governor actually resigned but obviously he was asked to resign based on the following rare and exceptional circumstances:
- Sexual harassment. A very serious charge and surely it leads to the expiry of the pleasure of the President
- Turning Raj Bhavan into a “Young Ladies Club”. Is it not a sexist remark lacking merit?
Other allegations appearing in the media are that the Governor was fond of women employees, many women had access to his bed room and that the Governor had put women employees on night duty.
We understand that Meghalaya is largely a matriarchal society. I fail to understand how could the Governor practice ill treatment of women in the Raj Bhavan in its state capital.
If we grant privacy of private life of the Governor, perhaps we can’t oppose if had consensual relations with many women.
N D Tiwari, who was caught in a more serious scandal is now a member of the ruling BJP. V Shanmuganathan faces a less intense charge. Digging into the molestation case I found that the lady in question had alleged in a text message to a journalist friend that the Governor had hugged and kissed her after a job interview. I do not think there will be any legal follow up on the issue and soon it will be shelved.
V Shanmuganathan is from the RSS which upholds “Dharma, comprising faith in the oneness of the human race, the underlying unity of all religious traditions, the basic divinity of the human being, complementarities and inter-relatedness of all forms of creation both animate and inanimate, and the primacy of spiritual experience”. But I am not sure if the ideology also teaches appropriate conduct with the opposite sex
Many people advocate abolition of the post of Governor. Not a bad idea given that the Governor’s position only leads to controversies and we can’t recollect anything constructive from this post.