Conference of Rulers
The Conference of Rulers (also Council of Rulers or Durbar, Hindi: शासक सभा) in Vishwamitra is a council comprising the six hereditary rulers of the Vishwamitran states, and the prime minister as the Keeper of the Rulers' Seal. It was officially established on 8 June 2020 and later legalised by Article 29 of the Constitution of Vishwamitra. Its main responsibility is the election of the Rashtradhyaksh (Supreme Monarch) and their deputy, the Uparashtradhyaksh, which occurs every five years or when the positions fall vacant (either through death, resignation, or removal from office). Although its position in the process of elective monarchy is unique, the Conference of Rulers also plays a role in amending the Constitution of Vishwamitra and some other policies, in particular, those Articles which have been "entrenched", namely those pertaining to the status of the rulers, and other related articles.
The Conference of Rulers was formally established by then Council of State in June 2020 with the establishment of the federal monarchy in the nation. The conference was highly based upon the Conference of Rulers of Malaysia, a very similar institution responsible for the election of the Malay Yang di-Pertuan Agong and their deputy.
The major responsibility of the conference from its establishment has been the election of the Rashtradhyaksh and the Uparashtradhyaksh. The first Rashtradhyaksh was elected by the then council of state, however, an election was held in July 2020 when Rashtradhyaksh Tanishkaa Patranabish abdicated. Upon her abdication, the conference was summoned by acting chairman, Bishnu Chetry, Rajpramukh of Uttaranchal to elect a new monarch. Thereupon, the Rajpramukh of Purvanchal Dhrubajyoti Roy was chosen from among the rulers following the order of seniority of states and elected as the second Rashtradhyaksh.
The membership of the Conference depends on the succession of the Vishwamitran rulers and formerly on the appointment of the Governors who were appointed by the Rashtradhyaksh. Each state has its own procedure for succession to the throne with Basistha] being an elective or chosen monarchy.
Only the rulers of the Vishwamitran states are permitted to participate in the election of the Rashtradhyaksh and stand as candidates. Should a member of the Conference be unable to attend a meeting, their state must designate a temporary replacement. Once elected, the Rashtradhyaksh delegates their state representation in the Conference to the Regent they have selected to rule in their stead in their home state. The Rashtradhyaksh still attends the meetings of the Conference, though they do so intermittently, usually only when the Conference would be discussing national policy or electing a new Rashtradhyaksh. The priem minister also attends the meetings of the Conference except for those on the election of the rulers and also serves as the Keeper of the Rulers' Seal.
The Conference is headed by a senior ruler who is not the Rashtradhyaksh. The first-ever chairman was Arnab Sil, Rajpramukh of Madhya Prant while the current chairman is Uparashtradhyaksh Bishnu Chetry, Rajpramukh of Uttaranchal, although he shall be replaced very soon as the chairman by another state ruler.
- HM Dhrubajyoti Roy, Rajpramukh of Purvanchal, since 8 June 2020
- HRH Regent Sarala, Crown Princess of Purvanchal, since 6 February 2021 (representing the Rajpramukh)
- HM Tanishkaa Patranabish, Rajpramukh of Beltola, since 8 June 2020
- HRH Regent Asmi, Senior Princess of Beltola, since 20 July 2022 (representing the Rajpramukh)
- HM Bishnu Chetry, Rajpramukh of Uttaranchal, since 8 June 2020
- HM Arnab Sil, Rajpramukh of Madhya Prant, since 8 June 2020
- HM Anirban Phatowali, Rajpramukh of Kamrupa, since 8 June 2020
- HM Anoushkaa Patranabish, Rajpramukh of Basistha, since 18 March 2022
- HRH Mohammad Mridul Amin, Rajpramukh of Basistha (8 June 2020 – 11 September 2021) (ceased to be a member of the Conference of Rulers following the abolition of the monarchy in Basistha on 11 September 2021)
- HH Ștefan Marius Snagoveanu, Rajyapal of Basistha (11 September 2021 – 18 March 2022) (ceased to be a member of the Conference of Rulers following his resignation on 18 March 2022)
Functions and duties
All provisions regarding the Conference are provided under Article 29 of the Constitution of Vishwamitra. The constitution mentions that the functions of the conference shall be:
The Conference of Rulers shall exercise its functions of
- i. electing, in accordance with the provisions of the Article 55, the Rashtradhyaksh
- ii. consenting or withholding consent to any law and making or giving advice on any appointment which under this Constitution requires the consent of the Conference or is to be made by or after consultation with the Conference.
The constitution further mentions that when the Conference deliberates on matters of national policy the Rashtradhyaksh shall be accompanied by the Prime Minister, and the other Rulers; and the deliberations shall be among the functions exercises, by the Rashtradhyaksh in accordance with the advice of the cabinet, and by the other Rulers in accordance with the advice of their Executive Councils. It further states that no law directly affecting the privileges, position, honours or dignities of the Rulers shall be passed without the consent of the Conference of Rulers.
The constitution also provides that the members of the Conference of Rulers may act in their discretion in any proceedings relating to the following functions, that is to say:
- the election or removal from office of the Rashtradhyaksh
- the advising on any appointment
- the giving or withholding of consent to any law altering the boundaries of a State or affecting the privileges, position, honours or dignities of the Rulers
The Constitution does not provide as to when the Conference shall meet. However, since its inception, the Conference has only met four times. The meetings of the Conference are chaired by the most senior Rajpramukh (in presence) who is not the Rashtradhyaksh. The four historic meetings of the Conference are as follows:
- I. 29 July 2020:
- The Conference of Rulers was summoned by acting chairman Bishnu Chetry, Rajpramukh of Uttaranchal on 29 July 2020 immediately after the abdication of Rashtradhyaksh Tanishkaa Patranabish. The Conference met to elect a new ruler from among the other five hereditary rulers of the state. Thereupon, then Uparashtradhyaksh who was also discharging the functions as Acting Rashtradhyaksh, the Rajpramukh of Purvanchal Dhrubajyoti Roy was unopposed elected as the second Rashtradhyaksh and took over on 1 August 2020.
- II. 7 September 2021:
- The Conference met for the second time on 7 September 2021 under the chairmanship of Bishnu Chetry to determine the status of the monarchy in Basistha as prescribed under Article 50 of the constitution. Thereupon the members, excluding then Rajpramukh of Basistha Mohammad Mridul Amin who was not present in the meeting, reached to the consensus that the monarchy in Basistha shall be abolished by replaced by a gubernatorial administration under the Rajyapal (Governor of Basistha) who shall be appointed by the Rashtradhyaksh with approval from the Conference. On 11 September 2021, the monarchy in Basistha was abolished and replaced by the proposed administration. Ștefan Marius Snagoveanu replaced Mridul Amin as the ruler of Basistha and became a non-voting member of the conference.
- III. 13 March 2022:
- The Conference was summoned on 13 March 2022 following the offer of resignation of then Rajyapal of Basistha Ștefan Marius Snagoveanu. All the members, excluding the Rajpramukh of Kamrupa Anirban Phatowali who was unable to attend due to the death of his grandmother, approved the resignation of the Rajyapal and also proposed that the monarchy in Basistha is re-introduced under a non-hereditary ruler. Finally, Princess Anoushkaa of Beltola was chosen to become the Rajpramukh of Basistha and took over on 18 March 2022.
- IV. 13 July 2022:
- The Conference was summoned on 13 July 2022 after then Uparashtradhyaksh Tanishkaa Patranabish announced her resignation. The conference then voted to elect the next senior ruler, Bishnu Chetry, Rajpramukh of Uttaranchal by a 5-6 vote. Rajpramukh Bishnu Chetry took over as the Uparashtradhyaksh on 20 July 2022 after his election order was counter-signed by the Rashtradhyaksh, the Prime Minister and Keeper of the Rulers' Seal Farhaz Hazarika, President of the Privy Council Jayden Dagsa, Speaker of the Lok Sabha Tyler Mullins and Chief Justice Carson Snyder.