State Governor in Indian Polity

Governor of Rajasthan Office

Part VI of Constitution of India deals with government of states (except J&K). This contains articles 152 to 237 that deals with various provisions related to States. It covers the executive, legislature and judiciary wings of the states.  Out of these, articles 153 to 167 deal with state executive and the governor. Constitutional provisions concerning the Governor and the scope of these provisions shows that there are three main facets of Governor‘s role.

  • (i) As the constitutional head of the State operating normally under a system of Parliamentary democracy.
  • (ii) As a vital link between the Union Government and the State Government.
  • (iii) As a representative of the Union Government in a specific areas during normal times.

Important Aspects:

  • State Executive includes:
    • The Governor
    • Chief Minister
    • Council of Ministers
    • Advocate General of State.
  • No office of Vice-governor.
  • Governor: Dual Role
    • Nominal Executive head (Constitutional Head)
    • Agent of the Central Government
  • 7th Constitutional Amendment 1956(CA): Allowed appointment of same person as governor for two or more states.

Appointment of the Governor:

  • Appointed by President by warrant under his hand and seal.
  • No election. Why? Various reasons:
    • Incompatible with Parliamentary System (If both CM & Governor come by election, they shall compete for power, . Not good for state).
    • Governor is only Constitutional head. Therefore, no point in doing so much expense for getting a signing authority.
    • Allows Center to maintain control over state.
    • Allows for neutrality & impartial head.
  • No governor election: Canadian Model, followed by India.
  • Conditions required for appointment:
    • Citizen of India
    • 35+ years age.
    • Remember: No other condition
  • Conventions (Not rule, but generally followed)
    • Does not belong to state ( Example: Kalyan Singh in Rajasthan)
    • President consults Chief Minister before appointment.
  • Conditions for Governor’s office: in Constitution (6 Only)
    1. Should not be member of Parliament/Legislative assembly. If he/she is member then deemed to vacate the seat in the house. ( Resignation from house assumed).
    2. Should not hold any office of profit.
    3. Entitled to use of Raj Bhawan as official residence.( free)
    4. Emoluments: decided by Parliament
    5. Single person appointed to two or more states – President decides expenses ratio.
    6. Emoluments (Salary etc) cannot be reduced post appointment.
  • Dismissal
    • Anytime, based on pleasure of President. (Non-Justiciable)
    • But President na kare toh, 5 years from date of entering to office.
    • Can be reappointed/transferred.
  • Trivia: When Central Gov. changes opposition party governors resign so that new Centre can reappoint their own people.
  • There cannot be any interregnume. (Governor can hold office beyond 5 years until his successor assumes charge).
  • When governor absent: Chief Justice can act as temporary. This also President will do.

Powers & Functions of Governor:

Can be placed under 4 categories: Executive, Legislative, Financial & Judicial powers.

Executive Powers & Functions:

  1. All executive actions of a state are taken under his name.
  2. Can make rules how Orders (& others) will be made & executed in his name. (kaise sign karenge decide kar sakte hain).
  3. Appoints CM & Other Ministers.
  4. Appoints Advocate general of state. ( Can dismiss him whenever he/she wants) (Also decides remuneration)
  5. Appoints state election commissioner
  6. Appoints chairman & members of RPSC.
  7. Acts as Chancellor of Universities in state & appoints Vice-Chancellor (VC) of universities.
  8. Can seek info from CM relating to bills/state mein kuch affair pe.
  9. Can require CM to submit to council of ministers any decision jo minister ne akele liya ho and baaki council ne consider nahi kiya ho.
  10. Can recommend imposition of emergency.

Legislative Powers & Functions:

The Governor is an integral part of the state legislature (Art. 168). According to this Article, the State legislature shall consist of the Governor and the Legislative Assembly. In such capacity, he/she has following powers:

  • Summon or prorogue state legislature and dissolve the state assembly.
  • Can address the State legislature at first session after election & first session each year.
  • Can send messages to State legislature.
  • Can appoint any member of legislative assembly to preside over proceedings when offices of both speaker & deputy speaker fall vacant.
  • Can nominate one member to state legislature from Anglo-Indian Community.
  • Decides on question of disqualification of members of state legislature in consultation with Election Commission.
  • He can promulgate ordinances when state legislature is not in session.
  • Lays the report of State Finance Commission, RPSC, and Comptroller and Auditor General report related to accounts of state before the state legislature.
  • Can reserve bill for consideration of President.

Financial Powers & Functions:

  • Under Art. 202, the Governor is required to be laid before the House or Houses of the legislature the Budget or the Annual Financial Statement.
  • A money bill cannot be introduced without the recommendation of the Governor.
  • A Demand for Grant cannot be moved without the recommendation of the Governor.
  • Can make advances out of Contingency fund of State,
  • Constitutes State Finance Commission every five years.

Judicial Powers & Functions:

  • Article 161 confers on the Governor the power to grant pardon, reprieve, respite or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to matters to which the executive power of the state extends. However, the President has the exclusive power to grant pardon in cases where a person has been sentenced to death.
    • The Governor cannot grant pardon in case of death sentence. He can only commute the punishment.
    • The Governor has no power in relation to Court Martial.
  • Consulted by President while appointing Judges of State High Court.
  • Appoints persons to State Judicial Service (Other than district judges) in consultation with State high court and RPSC.