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Q. Allocations of Portfolios of CM: Comment on Tamilnadu Governor’s decision to allocate portfolios held by Chief Minister to another senior cabinet colleague in the backdrop of hospitalisation of CM.
Oct 13, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

Introduction-

The chief minister of Tamilnadu Jayalalitha has been hospitalised since fortnight and as per hospital reports it would require a prolonged stay in hospital. In this backdrop Governor of Tamilnadu Vidyasagar Rao has allocated the portfolios held by the ailing Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, to her seniormost colleague in the Cabinet, O. Panneerselvam. The arrangement will continue until Ms. Jayalalithaa resumes her duties.

Analysis-

  • After hospitalisation of Chief Minister situation like constitutional impasse has been created and it has impacted on the governance of the state.
  • Many observers felt that unelected members of inner circle were calling shots in the governance and demanded for alternative arrangements.
  • Considering the various aspects, governor has made pragmatic move, as it addresses the concern about who is responsible for governance in the interregnum caused by the Chief Minister’s hospitalisation.
  • In 1984, the then Tamilnadu governor constitute a guiding precedent, he made similar move by reallocating portfolios to senior minister and also had asked to preside over cabinet meetings.
  • According to jurist D D Basu, Governor allocates the functions of the Chief Minister, under Article 166(3) to some other Minister during the temporary absence (say, illness) of the Chief Minister, the functions of the Chief Minister under the Constitution can be discharged by that other Minister.
  • Though constitution is silent on some aspects, hence it is better to adopt the convention that the minister next in seniority to the Chief Minister is automatically recognised as officiating chief executive when she or he is temporarily unavailable, due to ill-health or otherwise.

Conclusion-

Prolonged absence of chief minister has huge impact in governance of the state. Same issue has been observed in Tamilnadu recently, due to hospitalisation of chief minister. In the background governor has made right move by assigning the work of chief minister to next senior minister and constitutional impasse has been averted.


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