Girish Chandra Murmu resigned, hours after he chaired administrative council meeting on August 5 which marked the first anniversary of the revocation of Article 370 and splitting of the erstwhile state by virtue of which the former IAS officer came to be appointed as the first Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir.
There was not even a murmur before news flashed that the 61-year-old bureaucrat has quit and his resignation stands accepted by the President of India, a development confirmed formally very early on August 6.
Former Chief Minister and National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah mutely called into question “unceremonious and unexpected” exit of Murmu as well as last governor of the J&K Satya Pal Malik at the time when both had a full schedule of meetings planned before they were suddenly ordered to “pack and leave”.
No reasons have been given for the resignation of Murmu which indeed was unexpected and some quarters tend to link G C Murmu’s exit to his remarks on 4G restoration and elections. For the latter, he got a rap from election commission of India while for the former, the government of India sought to suggest before the Supreme Court that it was his personal opinion. However, between the lines, one is also given to understand that his replacement by a politician like senior BJP leader from Uttar Pradesh Manoj Sinha would usher in the revival of politic activities which remain standstill in the J&K when mainstream leaders are finding hard to move ahead with whatever outlook they have. Even those who have publically accepted Article 370 revocation as final and demand restoration of the statehood find hard to make any worthwhile moves. Appointment of a politician as lieutenant governor can also be a pointer that there are no immediate plans for the ruling party at the centre to restore even the statehood to the J&K for the near future.
Under the Constitution, the governor is the head of a state and is appointed by the president of India. Under Article 156(1), she holds office during the pleasure of the president, which in effect means the Union government. Ordinarily the governor’s term of office under Article 156(3) is five years, of course, subject to the president’s pleasure.
In 1979, the apex Court in the case of Hargovind Pant vs Dr Raghukul Tilak observed, based on the enumeration of the constitutional powers and functions, that governor is not an employee or a servant of the Centre in any sense of the term. She is a constitutional functionary. One expects better send-off rather than mute egress or in the word of Omar Abdullah “unceremonious exit.”