Model Question and Answers for APSC | Critically discuss Article 176 of the Indian Constitution in the context of recent events.
Critically discuss Article 176 of the Indian Constitution in the context of recent events.
Ans: The Governor of Tamil Nadu, in the customary Governor’s address to Members of the Tamil Nadu Assembly skipped an important and politically significant paragraph.
- Article 176 of the Constitution requires the Governor to mandatorily address the Members of legislature at the commencement of the first session of each year and to inform them of the causes of its summons.
- Clause two says that the legislature will discuss the matters referred to in such an The “address” here means the complete address and not a truncated or garbled version.
- Therefore, what the Governor reads before the legislators is a complete address whose entire contents are to be mandatorily discussed by the legislators in the House.
Significance of Article 176 for the elected government:
- It will become more clear when we consider Article 175 which says that the Governor may address the legislature and for that purpose require the attendance of the The Governor’s address under Article 175 is not a mandatory address unlike under Article 176.
- Article 175 does not speak about any discussion of the content of such an address; but Article 176 requires a discussion on the matters contained in the Governor’s address.\
- The reason behind the Constitution making such a distinction in two addresses by the same constitutional authority, namely the Governor, to the same Members of the legislature, is that the address under Article 176 contains the policies and programmes of the elected government of the State which is accountable to the legislature.
- Executive accountability to the elected representatives of the people is the essence of parliamentary democracy.
Content by the government:
- The address the Governor gives under Article 176 is the address prepared by the government. It does not contain any of the personal views of the Governor but only the policies and the programmes of the elected government.
- The government alone is responsible for the content of the address and not the Governor. The Governor cannot change a word on his So, by wilfully not reading certain portions of the address the Governor has gone against the mandate of Article 176.
Way forward: Constitutional wisdom:
- From Shamsher Singh (1974) to Nabam Rebia (2016), the Supreme Court has consistently held that Governors can act only on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers and cannot exercise any executive powers independently ignoring the elected government.
- In the Nabam Rebia case, the Court has said “... such a nominee, cannot have an overriding authority, over the representatives of the people, who constitute the House or Houses of the State Legislature (on being duly elected from their respective constituencies) and/or even the executive Government functioning under the Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister as the head. ”
- R. Ambedkar said in the Constituent Assembly: “If the Constitution remains in principle the same, as we intend that it should be, that the Governor should be a purely constitutional Governor, with no power of interference in the administration of the province.