Reimagining Governor’s Institution and Federalism

Published date01 September 2017
AuthorJayaprakash Narayan
Date01 September 2017
Subject MatterArticles
Indian Journal of Public
63(3) 418–430
© 2017 IIPA
SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/0019556117720612
1 Foundation for Democratic Reforms, Begumpet, Hyderabad, Telangana, India.
Corresponding author:
Jayaprakash Narayan, General Secretary, Foundation for Democratic Reforms, #6-3-1187, Flat No.
801 & 806, 8th Floor, Srinivasa Towers, Beside ITC Kakatiya Hotel, Begumpet, Hyderabad 500016,
Telangana, India.
E-mail: drjploksatta@
Governor’s Institution
and Federalism
Jayaprakash Narayan1
Our constitution-makers have consciously chosen the Westminster model of
government at both the federal and provincial levels. As an inevitable conse-
quence, we have the ornamental constitutional heads of state at both levels—
with largely symbolic roles, except in certain circumstances. In the science of
child birth, there is a wise dictum: ‘A good obstetrician is one who observes
watchful expectancy and masterly inactivity.’ The president and governors too
are mostly expected to play the part without intervening in real governance.
On occasion, a wise head of state is expected to give sage counsel to his prime
minister/chief minister, and a sensible head of government would give enormous
weight to such advice. It is paradoxical that the president, who is elected by
both Houses of Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies, and therefore has
the widest possible mandate in our polity, is really a figurehead; the governor,
who is a mere nominee of the prime minister and appointed by the president
and can be dismissed at will, has far greater discretion and latitude in dealing
with the elected state government! Therefore, this essay examines the role of
president and governors from a reformist’s perspective. In particular, this essay
will critically examine the negative consequences of the nominated governor
serving at the pleasure of the president, and argue for reimagining federalism and
governor’s institution.
Federalism, governor, local government, president, Westminster model,
governance, defection, rule of law, ordinances, NJA

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