The Governor of a State shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.

Debate Summary

Article 131, Draft Constitution, 1948

The Governor of a State shall be elected by direct vote of all persons who have the right to vote at a general election for the Legislative Assembly of the State.

Alternatively

The Governor of a State shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal from a panel of four candidates to be elected by the members of the Legislative Assembly of the State, or, where there is a Legislative Council in the State, by all the members of the Legislative Assembly and of the Legislative Council of the State assembled at a joint meeting, in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote and the voting at such election shall be by secret ballot.

 

Draft Article 131 (Article 155) was debated on 30th May and 31st May 1949. This Draft Article had two versions, one which laid out the procedure for election of the Governor, and the other which laid out the procedure for appointment.cThe debates focused on whether the Governor should be chosen through election or by appointment.

 

Some members who were in favour of election pointed out that the Assembly had taken a resolution two years ago stating that the Governor would be chosen through election. One member argued that an appointed Governor could be from any state, and therefore would be an inefficient administrator since he would not have any knowledge of the people or language.

 

Many members favoured the system of appointment, but disapproved of the process laid out in the Draft Article. One member argued that provincial autonomy and successful state cabinet governments could only be ensured by the ‘existence of a fairly impartial constitutional head’. He also opposed the system of appointment from a panel of candidates in the Draft Article as not ‘conducive to amicable relations’ since it would encourage factionalism within the party. A member of the Drafting Committee also agreed with this proposition, stating that appointment was more suitable given that the function of the Governor was ‘to be a constitutional head, a sagacious counselor and adviser to the Ministry one who can throw oil over troubled waters’. The Prime Minister agreed with these arguments, stating that appointment would ensure that the Governor was detached from state politics and able to operate fairly and impartially. Another member argued that the power to appoint should be vested in the President.

 

One member proposed to wholly replace the Draft Article with ‘The Governor of a State shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.’ He argued that the language of the Draft Article gave too much leeway to the Legislature and restricted the choice of the President. The amendment, he contended, simplified the procedure, and gave the President unfettered right to appoint a Governor. This received the popular support of the Assembly, including members of the Drafting Committee.

 

The Assembly voted in favour of choosing the Governor by appointment, and accepted the only amendment proposed. The amended Draft Article was adopted on 31st May 1949.