Intro: Governor doesn’t have to govern, but to keep a watch on the way State Government governs and functions. And while doing so the Governor only needs to listen attentively and resolve the issues and conflicts, specially playing a bridge between the State Government and the Union Government.
Law and Order is the Most Prominent Issu—Ram Naik
Having a track record of being elected eight times from Mumbai–three times to Maharashtra Assembly from Borivali and five times to the Parliament from North Mumbai–Shri Ram Naik, the new Governor of Uttar Pradesh is known for his personal integrity and commitment to the people he represented. He has been instrumental in ensuring that 'Vande Mataram' is sung in the Parliament. In an exclusive interview to Organiser he feels that Uttar Pradesh has become a ‘Prashna Pradesh’ because the State is fraught with riots and turbulence; people are raising questions and issues to which no one has answers and solutions. Organiser Representative Dr Shakti Kumar Pandey spoke to him in Lucknow on various issues. Excerpts:
- How would you contribute to the governance of a State like UP which is known for lot of turbulence and upheavals on law and order front?
Governor doesn’t have to govern, but to keep a watch on the way State Government governs and functions. And while doing so the Governor only needs to listen attentively and resolve the issues and conflicts, specially playing a bridge between the State Government and the Union Government.
- What issues seem to be drawing your attention more prominently in Uttar Pradesh?
Law and order is the most prominent issue. Here we scarcely have governance. Power supply is in a very bad shape. There have been complaints in the sphere of higher education too, which is my special domain. I keep in touch with State Government over these issues. I keep constant communication with the Chief Minister. I keep discussing with him whatever matters are brought to my notice. I try to ensure maximum coordination between the State Government and the Union Government.
- What has been the response of Chief Minister on your intervention and suggestions in governance?
It has been considerably appropriate. For example, in the matters relating to law and order I intervened and got the response. Like in the case of Mohanlalganj, where a woman was raped and murdered, the Chief Minister promised to give ten lakh as ex gratia to the children of the victim, and free education to the son and daughter up to high school. I said why up to high school only, why not up to whatever level they can pursue their study? And the CM agreed. He also consented to recommend CBI inquiry in the case. In the case of assault on Shia cleric Kalbe Javvad and Wakf Board elections also I intervened, and the CM accepted my suggestions.
- Have you been able to sort out the issue of power deficiency in Uttar Pradesh?
About the issue of power supply too I have spoken to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. I realised that there is lack of proper communication between the State and Central Government. I spoke to the concerned Union Minister Peeyush Goel and I am trying to arrange his meeting with the Chief Minister to resolve the differences and to ensure proper coordination.
- Your letter seeking explanation from the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary regarding action taken by the government over Lokayukta recommendations about corruption of BSP Ministers and officials is very much being discussed in the political circle here. While it is quite embarrassing to the Samajvadi Party government, Mayawati has called the move political. How would you react to it?
Yes. I did seek explanatory memorandum from the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary about the action taken or not taken against four BSP Ministers and eight officers of the previous government in UP on the recommendations made by the Lokayukta. Lokayukta Justice NK Mehrotra had conducted investigations into the complaints against the ministers and government officials during erstwhile BSP regime. The reports were submitted to the State Government seeking action under section 12 (3) and 12 (4) of UP Lokayukta Act. But the State Government didn’t act on it. Consequently, the Lokayukta wrote to me under Section 12 (5), upon which I was bound to seek explanatory memorandum from the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary in accordance with the law.
- How do you plan to improve the deteriorating conditions in higher education system in UP, which too is in a very bad shape?
I have control over the universities. Infact it is my constitutional responsibility. I have to look after the affairs of 24 State universities. Being the Chancellor of the State universities I have meetings with all the Vice Chancellors of these universities to understand their problems and to find possible solutions. We are hopeful that the situation will improve. The results of 2013-14 examinations have been delayed, the admissions are not yet over. Convocations have not taken place in some universities for two-three years. I am trying to look into the causes and recommend the solutions. I have to improve the administrative set up of these universities. We have three new universities and twenty one old universities. These twenty one need to come up with a schedule and academic calendar. I have suggested the Vice-Chancellors certain dates for convocation, and in case they have any problem, I advised them to come up with a plan for themselves.
- Are you getting adequate response from the State Government?
Many issues are related to the State Government also – like the appointment of Registrars, Finance Officers and Professors. The only Sangeet University of the State Bhatkhande Sangeet University does not have its own Act and Statutes so far. I spoke to the CM about all this. I advised the Chief Minister to address those issues of higher education which concerns State departments.
- There are reports of corruption in higher education, especially in appointments. How do you plan to address to this challenging task?
In fact, I can look into the appointments of Vice Chancellors only where I am directly concerned. I am going to ensure that qualified and competent persons are appointed as Vice Chancellors. And if in any case the VCs act wrongly, one can appeal to me and in that case I will look into the complaint. These things are within my purview. Teachers’ appointment is not my concern. In the case of a university, it is the VC’s concern. And I also have to take care of the university autonomy. In the case of a college it is the concern of Higher Education Services Commission.
- On one occasion you were reported to have said that the Governors must resign when the regime at the Centre changes. Was it a well formulated statement?
Constitutionally the Governors are appointed by the President of India, but we all know that these appointments have always been political. And therefore when the government changes at the Centre the propriety demands that the Governors should resign on their own. It is always dignified to relinquish the post, and when it does not happen the unbecoming situations emerge, as happened in some states recently.
|“As a Governor, I sought explanatory memorandum from the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary in accordance with the law. The reports were submitted to the State Government seeking action under Section 12 (3) and 12 (4) of UP Lokayukta Act. But the State Government didn’t act on it. That is why the action was inevitable.”|
Even the Vice-Chairperson and members of the Planning Commission, Solicitor General, Attorney General – they all do resign on the change of government. It is a common practice. On one occasion even the SC made this observation that when the President is pleased to appoint somebody, he is equally authorised to remove him or her by showing his displeasure.