Tamilisai Soundarajan: Can a Governor Join a Political Party?


06:19 AM

1 min read
Tamilisai Soundarajan: Can a Governor Join a Political Party? Blog Image

The recent resignation of Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan has sparked a debate on the constitutional position of a governor with respect to political affiliations. The governor’s role is to act as a bridge between the central government and the state, maintaining an apolitical stance to ensure unbiased governance. However, the move to join active politics post-resignation raises questions about the constitutional provisions, rules, and procedures that govern such a transition.

Constitutional Provisions and Political Neutrality

The Constitution of India does not explicitly prohibit a governor from having a political background. In fact, governors are often former politicians or individuals with political affiliations. However, once appointed, they are expected to sever all political ties and act impartially. The role of the governor, as outlined in Articles 153 to 167 of the Indian Constitution, is largely ceremonial, with real executive power resting with the elected state government.

  • Article 153: A Governor is appointed for each state of India.
  • Article 154: The executive power of the state is vested in the Governor.
  • Article 155: The Governor is appointed by the President of India.
  • Article 156: The Governor holds office for a term of five years but can be removed earlier by the President.
  • Article 157: A Governor must be a citizen of India and at least 35 years old.
  • Article 158: The Governor cannot be a member of the legislature or hold any other office of profit.
  • Article 159: The Governor takes an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law.
  • Article 160: The President can make provisions for the discharge of the Governor’s functions in certain contingencies.
  • Article 161: The Governor has the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites, or remissions of punishment.
  • Article 162: The extent of executive power of the state extends to matters with respect to which the legislature of the state has power to make laws.
  • Article 163: The Governor has the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, headed by the Chief Minister, for exercising their functions.
  • Article 164: The Chief Minister and other ministers are appointed by the Governor and are collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly of the state.
  • Article 165: The Advocate General for the state provides legal advice to the government of the state.
  • Article 166: All executive actions of the government of a state are formally taken in the name of the Governor.
  • Article 167: The Chief Minister is responsible for communicating all decisions of the Council of Ministers to the Governor and furnishing information as the Governor may call for.

The Governor’s Resignation: Rules and Procedures

A governor can resign at any time by submitting a resignation letter to the President of India. The President, acting on the advice of the central government, has the discretion to accept the resignation. There is no specified procedure for a governor to transition from their gubernatorial role to active politics, but the act of resignation itself is indicative of the intent to relinquish the constitutional position and its associated responsibilities.

The Case of Tamilisai Soundararajan

Soundararajan’s resignation and her likely candidature in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections as a BJP candidate highlight the fluidity between constitutional roles and political ambitions. While there is no constitutional barrier to prevent a governor from joining a political party after stepping down, the timing and circumstances of such a move can lead to public scrutiny and discussions about the propriety and ethics of the decision.

The governorship is a position of trust and neutrality, and while the Constitution does not prevent governors from returning to politics, it is imperative that they uphold the dignity and impartiality of the office during their tenure. The transition from a governor to a political candidate should be managed in a manner that preserves public faith in the apolitical nature of the governor’s office and the democratic process at large.