Governor of Indian States

The Governor of Indian States

The Governor is the head of a state just like the President is the head of the republic. The Governor is the nominal head of a state, while the Chief Minister is the executive head.

The Governor is appointed for a period of five years, but holds the office at the pleasure of the President  He may be removed by the President  before the expiry of his term or he may even resign.

All executive actions of the state are taken in the name of the Governor. However, in reality he merely gives his consent to the various executive actions. He/she is devoid of taking any major decisions. The real powers in the executive dealings of a state rest with the Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers.

According to an amendment in the Constitution of India, brought about in 1956, the same person can be the Governor of two or more states. Apart from the governors in the states, Lieutenant governors are appointed in Union Territories of Delhi, Andaman Nicobar Island and Pudducherry. All other union-territories are governed by an Administrative Head (an IAS officer). The only exception is Chandigarh. The governor of Punjab is also the lieutenant governor of Chandigarh.

Eligibilty Creteria :

  • A citizen of India
  • 35 years of age or above
  • must not hold any other office of profit.
  • must not be a member of the Legislature of the Union or of any other state. There is no bar to the selection of a Governor from amongst the members of the Legislature, provided that on appointment, he/she immediately ceases to be a Member of the Legislature.

Powers and Functions of the Governor :

Under the Constitution of India, the Governor of a State possesses wide powers and functions – executive, legislative, financial, judicial, and discreationary.

Executive Powers:

  • The Executive power of the State is vested in the Governor. He exercises this power either directly or through the officers who are subordinate to him. All executive actions of the State are taken in the name of the Governor.
  • An important function of the Governor is to appoint the Chief Minister of the State. Other ministers are also appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister.
  • He has also the power to appoint the higher officers of the State including the Advocate-General and the members of the State Public Service Commission. He has also a share in the appointment of the Judges of High Court.
  • The Governor has the constitutional right to know the decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to the administrative affairs of the State and the proposals for legislation. But like the President of the Union, the Governor has no diplomatic or military power.

Legislative Powers:

  • As the Governor is said to be a part of the State Legislature, he has the right of addressing and sending messages, summoning, deferring and dissolving the State Legislature, just like the President has, in respect to the Parliament. Although these are formal powers, in reality, the Governor must be guided by the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers before making such decisions.
  • The Governor inaugurates the state legislature and the first session of each year, by addressing the Assembly, outlining the new administrative policies of the ruling government.
  • The Governor lays before the State Legislature, the annual financial statement and also makes demands for grants and recommendation of ‘Money Bills’.
  • The Governor constitutes the State Finance Commission. He also holds the power to make advances out of the Contingency Fund of the State in the case of any unforeseen circumstances.
  • All bills passed by the Legislative Assembly become a law, only after the Governor approves them. In case it is not a money bill, the Governor holds the right to send it back to the Vidhan Sabha for reconsideration. But if the Vidhan Sabha sends back the Bill to the Governor the second time, then he has to sign it.
  • When the State Legislature is not in session, the Governor may issue an Ordinance. It has same force as the law of the State Legislature. But it must be placed before the Legislature when it assembles again. If it is approved by the State Legislature, it will cease to operate after six weeks of the date of meeting of the State Legislature.

Financial Powers:

  • The Governor has also financial powers and functions. No money-bill can be originated in the State Legislature without the recommendation of the Governor. In every year, the budget is laid before the State Legislature by the Governor.
  • No proposals for taxation or expenditure can be made without the approval of the Governor.

Judicial Powers:

  • The Governor can grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remission of punishments. He can also suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of an offence against the law.
  • The Governor is consulted by the President in the appointment of the Chief Justice to the High Court of that particular state.
  • The governor appoints the district judges.

Discretionary Powers:

The Governor can use the following  powers, in case :

  • No party gets an absolute majority, the Governor can use his discretion in the selection of the Chief Minister.
  • An emergency occurs, he can override the advice of the council of ministers. At such times, he acts as an agent of the President and becomes the real ruler of the state.
  • He uses his direction in submitting a report to the President regarding the affairs of the state.
  • He can withhold his assent to a bill and send it to the President for his approval.