Bengal crisis escalates as governor asks government to axe education minister | India News

KOLKATA: West Bengal governor CV Ananda Bose “directed” the Bengal govt on Thursday to sack state education minister Bratya Basu, prompting the latter to say this was “as laughable as myself recommending the removal of the governor to the President”.
Basu said governor Bose had not only revealed his true colours but exceeded his constitutional brief in asking for his removal, which is the constitutional prerogative of the chief minister.The latest flare-up has its origins in a complicated legal tangle over the appointment of vice-chancellors to 31 state-run universities, which is now in the Supreme Court and which has precipitated a barrage of vexed statements and counter-statements by both Basu and Bose. As chancellor of state-run universities, governor Bose has not kept the state in the loop while appointing officiating VCs and asked them repeatedly not to heed the govt.
Governor Bose singled out a “political meeting held in Gour Banga University” in Basu’s presence on March 30 and directed the state govt “to take action against the erring minister who has deliberately violated the election code of conduct, including his removal from the cabinet,” a Raj Bhavan release said. It quoted the governor as saying, “Be you (Basu) ever so high, the law is above you.”
Reacting, Basu said, “…If I have violated the poll code, it is the prerogative of a political party to bring it to the notice of the Election Commission of India, which will take appropriate action. By raising such an accusation, he has misused his constitutional post and proved his political identify. Secondly, the Indian Constitution clearly states that the recommendation of appointment or removal of any minister lies with the CM…”
Such an order by a governor, though not constitutionally backed, is not without precedence. In 2023, Tamil Nadu governor RN Ravi dismissed state minister V Senthil Balaji after his arrest by ED but reversed his decision after a prod from the Centre. In 2022, Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had “withdrawn his pleasure” from state finance minister K N Balagopal. In both cases, the CMs of Tamil Nadu and Kerala had snubbed Raj Bhavan directions.
Legal experts say such directions by the governor have no constitutional mandate. “The law is very clear. Supreme Court has clearly said a governor cannot recommend the sacking of a minister,” former SC judge MB Lokur toldTOI. Former Bombay HC chief justice Chittatosh Mookerjee said a governor recommending dismissal of a state minister for allegedly violating the poll code was not good precedent. Former advocate general Bimal Chatterjee said, “Without the advice of the CM, a governor cannot recommend the removal of a minister.”
Earlier, Raj Bhavan said in a post on X, “Governor feels the minister is spoiling the relation between the governor and CM and (the) governor holds the CM in very high regard.”

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