[Editorial Analysis] Neither letter, nor spirit

Mains Paper 2: Polity
Prelims level: Governor
Mains level: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies

Context:

• In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the already strained relations between the governor of the country’s worst-hit state and its chief minister have just become worse.

• Maharashtra governor has turned the Raj Bhavan into a hub of controversy with a series of controversial moves.

Religious places:

• On Monday, Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari wrote a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, taunting him for his decision to keep religious places in the state closed.

• “Religious places in other parts of the country have been open for nearly three months and there are no reports of a surge in COVID cases,” Koshyari wrote.

• Having transgressed into the executive’s domain, the governor went further.

• “Have you suddenly turned secular yourself, the term you hated,” he asked Thackeray.

• But it’s Koshyari who needs to answer: Does the tone and content of his letter behove a constitutional functionary?

Using discretionary provisions:

• Since June, the Unlockdown Guidelines of the Home Ministry have rightly allowed state governments considerable flexibility in deciding the resumption of several activities, including opening places of worship.

• Last month, the Maharashtra government invoked this discretionary provision when it informed the Bombay High Court that reopening religious places, even with safety guidelines, was not a practical solution.

• It cited reports of breach of safety protocols during the Ganesh Utsav.

• The state government was responding to a petition filed by a Mumbai-based NGO.

• Since then, the demand to reopen religious places in Maharashtra has grown louder, with the main Opposition party, the BJP, leading a state-wide agitation.

• This is a matter where decision-making must be guided by sound administrative protocols and scientific expertise.

• That the governor enclosed in his letter three representations, reportedly from BJP office-bearers, invites serious questions about the continuing politicisation of a high office.

Mandate:

• Koshyari has been an RSS and BJP activist, and his earlier avatar arguably looms large over Monday’s letter.

• Perhaps the Maharashtra governor needs to be reminded of the document he swore allegiance to when he took oath of office on September 5, 2019 — the Constitution.

• Enshrined in its “Preamble” is a word he might disparage as a Hindutva follower, but one that propriety demands he accord due respect to — Secularism.

• Perhaps the governor should rewrite his letter to the chief minister, or be persuaded to do so.

Conclusion:

• Governor Koshyari needs to be reminded of document he committed to upholding when he took oath of office.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing, consider the following statements:

1. It extends an incentive of 4% to 6% on incremental sales (over base year) of goods under target segments that are manufactured in India to eligible companies, for a period of five years subsequent to the base year (FY2019-20).

2. The companies approved under the scheme will bring additional investment in electronics manufacturing to the tune of INR 11,000 crore.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1) “A governor should be discharging his/her duty in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution, not just be an agent of the centre”. Discuss the statement in the light of the role of governor in the Indian polity.

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