After a silence of nearly two months, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar continued his tirade, accusing the state government of constitutional impropriety alleging that the State Finance Commission (SFC) is not only continuing even after five years but has not made any recommendations to the governor so far.
In a tweet, Dhankhar wrote, “State Finance Commission (SFC) @MamataOfficial under Articles 243-I & 243Y, is required to make recommendations to the Governor that are to be laid before the Legislature of the State. What a collapse of constitutional mechanism, since 2014 not a single recommendation to Governor”.
“SFC under the constitution is for five years. Fourth SFC @MamataOfficial continued beyond, in violation of the Constitution. Chairman and Members are liable to return salary and perks to State and all expenses need to be recovered from concerned as public money cannot be squandered,” the governor added.
The governor further said, “Recommendations to Governor are for principles that should govern the distribution between State and Panchayats/Municipalities of net proceeds of taxes, duties, tolls & fees leviable @MamataOfficial, which may be divided and allocated between State and Panchayats/Municipalities.”
Referring to the constitution, Dhakahar said, “The Governor of a State shall, as soon as may be within one year from the commencement of the Constitution (Seventy third Amendment) Act, 1992, and thereafter at the expiration of every fifth year, constitute a Finance Commission to review the financial position of the Panchayats and to make recommendations to the Governor”.
“The Commission shall determine their procedure and shall have such powers in the performance of their functions as the Legislature of the State may, by law, confer on them. The Governor shall cause every recommendation made by the Commission under this article together with an explanatory memorandum as to the action taken thereon to be laid before the Legislature of the State,” the governor referred.
The fourth finance commission was set up by the Mamata Banerjee government in 2013. When asked about the allegation raised by the commission, a senior official of the state finance department said, “There were three part-time members of the commission. They used to get sitting fees for their meetings. The other members have not received any money after submitting their report in February 2016. No new SFC has been formed yet”.