Temporary vacuum

Print edition : October 17, 2014

JAYALALITHAA’S disqualification both as a Member of Legislative Assembly and as the Chief Minister created a vacuum in the Chief Minister’s post in Tamil Nadu, which is not envisaged in the Constitution. Article 163 of the Constitution says, “There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister as the head to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions, except in so far as he is by or under this Constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion.” Article 163(2) says, “If any question arises whether any matter is or is not a matter as respects which the Governor is by or under this Constitution required to act in his discretion, the decision of the Governor in his discretion shall be final, and the validity of anything done by the Governor shall not be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion.”

These two provisions make it clear the Governor, in his discretion, should have stepped in to swear in the person most likely to command the support of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) legislature party as the Chief Minister once Jayalalithaa ceased to be the Chief Minister. His failure to do so created an unnecessary vacuum, and the consequent uncertainty and failure of law and order machinery.

V. Venkatesan

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