The practice of dismissing Governors with the change of guard at the Centre began in 1977 when the Janata Party came to power routing the Congress and took a decision to replace the Governors appointed by the previous regime.
That was the first time a non-Congress Government was in power. Subsequent governments, whether that of Congress or others, then made it a practice.
In October 1980, then Tamil Nadu Governor Prabhudas Patwari was dismissed, demonstrating that the President's "pleasure" under Article 156 (1) can be used by the Prime Minister to dismiss any Governor for political reasons, and without assigning any cause.
In 1981, then Rajasthan Governor Raghulal Tilak too was dismissed from office.
When Tilak was removed from office, the state High Court held that Presidential pleasure contemplated in Article 156 was "not justiciable".
Incidentally, the decision of the Morarji Desai Cabinet in 1977 to replace the Governors was sent back without signing by then acting President B D Jatti.
The Cabinet sent the proposal a second time to the President who signed it as per constitutional norms.
The United Progressive Alliance government had dismissed four Governors -- Kidar Nath Sahni (Goa), Kailashpati Mishra (Gujarat), Babu Parmanand (Haryana) and Vishnu Kant Shastri (Uttar Pradesh), who had been appointed during the tenure of the previous National Democratic Alliance government.
Though the UPA in 2004 did not specify any reason, it was felt that there were a combination of more than one reasons for the removal of Governors.
Government sources then said the sacked Governors were political appointees who had been sent to their respective states with a specific purpose and that they made no effort to hide their RSS-BJP background when in office.
The Congress said the four Governors were sacked not because they belonged to a particular party but because they were "for a long time associated with the Sangh Parivar".
One of the four sacked Governors, Parmanand, was reported to have made an appeal to an audience in Rewari to vote for A B Vajpayee in the run-up to the election.