PEB scam: Office of Governor comes under a cloud

Lalit Shastri

Ram Naresh Yadav

Ram Naresh Yadav

Ram Naresh Yadav was Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh from 1977 to 1979.  He was formerly with Janata Party and later joined the Congress and was appointed Governor of Madhya Pradesh in August 2011.

As Yadav refused to hold the high moral ground and chose not to submit his papers when his name was dragged in the first instance in the PEB scam, the Centre should have intervened and asked him to go. Failure on his part to oblige should have led to his removal by the President–obviously on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers. This would have helped in upholding the dignity of the high office of the Governor.

After the Special Task Force of Madhya Pradesh Police registered an FIR against Ram Naresh Yadav on February 24 following Jabalpur High Court’s intervention and disclosures by the prime accused and also on the basis of prima facie evidence showing his alleged involvement in the masssive State professional examination Board scam, the Union Home Ministry asked him to resign.

The Congress decision to hand-pick Yadav and his appointment as Madhya Pradesh Governor during the previous Manmohan Singh regime does raise eye brows. The Intelligence Bureau has a state unit in Bhopal and is supposed to keep a tab and report to the Centre if the working of the Governor, his family members and officials is not above board and lowers the prestige of the Constitutional office of the Governor. Such reports should help in containing a problem before it blows up into a crisis. This is exactly what did not happen that too when even commoners had started shouting from rooftop about the involvement of “Rajbhawan” in the PEB scam, which is linked with the recruitment of government employees.

It would be naive to imagine that those at the helm of the Congress-led UPA Government were unaware of the goings on at Rajbhawan in Bhopal. Obviously the Congress bosses had brought Yadav as Governor of Madhya Pradesh with the motive of using whatever influence he might be having in Uttar Pradesh in the Yadav community to counter Mulyama Singh Yadav and his Samajwadi Party during elections and in return the Manmohan Singh Government chose to tun a nelson’s eye to all that was going on in Rajbhawan. Already the axed OSD to the Governor Dhanraj Yadav is in jail facing prosecution in the PEB scam case.

Perhaps this is for the first time since Independence, we have a Governor against whom an FIR has been registered by the Police under several Sections of the IPC and also the Anti-corruption law.

While the President is elected by the representatives of the people, namely, the Members of Parliament and the Members of the State Legislatures, the Governor is merely appointed by the President which really means, by the Union Council of Ministers. The Governor holds office during the pleasure of the President and can be removed by the President at any time.

As Yadav refused to hold the high moral ground and chose not to submit his papers when his name was dragged in the first instance in the PEB scam, the Centre should have intervened and asked him to go. Failure on his part to oblige should have led to his removal by the President–obviously on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers. This would have helped in upholding the dignity of the high office of the Governor.

The Indian Constitution and Governor’s authority

  • Article 154 vests the executive power of the State in the Governor.
  • Article 159 prescribes the oath, which a Governor has to take before entering upon his office. He has to swear in the name of God/solemnly affirm that he “will faithfully execute the office of Governor (or discharge the functions of the Governor) and will to the best of ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law and will devote to the service and well-being of the people.
  • According to Article 168, the Legislature of a State shall consist of the Governor and the Legislative Assembly.
  • Article 161 vests in the Governor the power to grant pardons, reprieves, etc.
  • Article 164(1) says “The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister and shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor”.
  • Assent to Bills under Article 200 says the Governor shall not assent to, but shall reserve for the consideration of the President, any Bill which in the opinion of the Governor would, if it became law, so derogate from the powers of the High Court as to endanger the position which that Court is by this Constitution designed to fill.
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