Indian Polity: Governor

The Governor is the Constitutional head of the state.

Just like the President of India the Governor of a state is a (constitutional or nominal or titular or Figure) head.

Appointment

The Governor of a state is appointed by the President.

OATH OF OFFICE:

The oath of office of the Governor is administered by the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court.

QUALIFICATIONS:

He should be a citizen of India.

He should have completed the age of 35 years.

CONDITIONS:

Should not be a member of either of the houses of the Parliament or a House of the state legislature. If any such person is appointed as the Governor, he is deemed to have vacated his seat in that house on the date on which he enters upon his office of Governor.

Should not hold any office of profit.

Note: In Hargovind Vs Raghukul case the Supreme Court held that the office of the Governor was not an office of profit under the Government.

The Governor is entitled without the payment of rent to the use of Raj Bhavan (Official residence).

SALARY:

The salary and other allowances are decided by the parliament.

At present the salary of the Governor of a state is Rs. 1, 10,000/-.

TERM:

The Governor holds the office during the pleasure of the president.

REMOVAL:

The Governor may be removed by the President at any time.

The Governor has no fixed term of office.

RESIGNATION:

The Governor submits the resignation to the President of India.

TRANSFER:

The President may transfer a Governor from one state to the other.

REAPPOINTMENT:

The President may reappoint a person as the Governor of the same state or transfer to the other state.

FUNCTIONS:

The functions of a Governor are similar to that of the President of India.

  • Executive
  • Legislative
  • Judicial
  • Financial functions.

But the Governor does not have diplomatic, military and Emergency powers like that of the president of India.

EXECUTIVE POWERS OF THE GOVERNOR:

The Governor of a state appoints

  • The Chief Minister and other Ministers.
  • Advocate General
  • State election commissioner
  • The Chairman and members of the state public service commission
  • Recommends for the President’s rule in the state.
  • Vice Chancellors of various universities in the state.
  • Himself acts as the Chancellor of Universities in the state.

LEGISLATIVE POWERS OF THE GOVERNOR

The Governor is a part of State Legislature.

(State Legislature means the assembly, the Legislative Council and the Governor if it is bicameral legislature. In case of unicameral legislature it is the State legislative assembly and the Governor ).

The Governor summons the State Legislature. (Assembly and Legislative Council). Summon means beginning of a session.

The Governor Prorogues the State Legislature. Prorogue means ending of a session.

The Governor dissolves the State Legislative Assembly.

Note: The Legislative Council is a permanent house it cannot be dissolved. But it can be abolished.

The Governor addresses the state legislature at the beginning of the first session each year.

Note: Here the meaning of year is year and not financial year. This is generally the budget session that starts in the month of February.

The Governor also addresses the state legislature at the beginning of the first session after each general election

Note: The general election means the assembly elections in which the people take part in voting.

The Governor can send messages to the houses of the state legislatures with respect to a bill pending in the legislature or otherwise.

In case there is a vacancy in the office of both Speaker and Deputy Speaker the Governor can appoint any member of the State Legislative Assembly to preside over its meeting.

In case there is a vacancy in the office of both Chairman and Deputy Chairman the Governor can appoint any member of the State Legislative Council to preside over its meeting.

The Governor nominates one Anglo-Indian to the state legislative Assembly.

The Governor nominates 1/6th of the members to the state legislative Council from amongst the persons having special knowledge or practical experience in

  • Science
  • Arts
  • Literature
  • Social Service
  • Cooperative Movement

The Governor decides the question of disqualification of the members of the State Legislature in consultation with the Election Commission. (Central Election Commission not State Election Commission).

A bill becomes a law with the assent of the Governor.

When a bill is sent to the Governor, then the Governor can

Give assent to the bill

OR

Withhold the assent to the bill.

OR

If the bill is not a money bill the Governor can return the bill for reconsideration. If the bill is passed by the state legislature agsin with or without amendments then the Governor has to give assent to the bill.

Note: Money bills cannot be sent back by the Governor for reconsideration.

OR

The Governor may reserve the bill for the consideration of the President. This happens in case if the bill passed by the state legislature endangers the position of the state High Court

or

if the bill is against the provisions of the Constitution

or

Opposed to the Directive Principles of State Policy

or

Against the larger interest of the country

or

Dealing with the compulsory acquisition of the property under Article 31A of the Indian Constitution.

The Governor of a state can promulgate the ordinances when the state legislature is not in the session. (Article 213).

Ordinance: This is a temporary law. This must be approved by the State legislature within six weeks from the date of reassembly of the state legislature.

The Governor can also withdraw an ordinance anytime.

The Governor lays the report of

  • State Public Service Commission (SPSC)
  • State Finance Commission (SFC)
  • Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)

Note: There is no separate office of CAG at the state level.  before the State legislature.

FINANCIAL POWERS OF THE GOVERNOR

The Governor sees that the budget (Annual Financial Statement) is laid before the State Legislature.

The Money bills can be introduced in the State Legislature only on the prior recommendation of the Governor.

No demand for a grant can be made except on the recommendation of the Governor.

The Governor can make advances out of the Contingency Fund of a State to meet any unforeseen expenditure.

The Governor constitutes a State Finance Commission after every five years to review the financial position of the Panchayats and the Municipalities.

JUDICIAL POWERS OF THE GOVERNOR

The Governor can grant Pardons, reprieves, respites and remissions of punishments or suspend, remit and commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the state extends.

The Governor cannot Pardon a death Sentence. (The President has the power of Pardon a death Sentence).

The Governor cannot grant pardon, reprieve, respite, suspension, remission or commutation in respect to punishment or sentence by a court martial. (The President of India enjoys this power).

The Governor takes decisions with relation to the appointments, postings, promotions of the District Court judges in consultation with the state High Court.

IMPORTANT ARTICLES RELATED TO THE GOVERNOR:

  • Article 153: There shall be a Governor for each state.
  • Article 154: The executive power of the state shall be vested in the Governor and shall be exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with the constitution.
  • Article 155: The Governor is appointed by the President.
  • Article 156: The Governor holds office during the pleasure of the President.
  • Article 159: The Governor shall take an oath to faithfully execute the office and to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law.
  • Article 163: There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister as the head to aid and advice the Governor in the exercise of his functions, except in so far as he is required to exercise his function in his discretion.
  • Article 164: The Council of Ministers are collectively responsible for to the Legislative Assembly of the state.

The Constitution has mentioned the discretionary the Governor and not to the President.

MISCELLANEOUS:

  • There is a Governor for each state.
  • As per the 7th Constitutional amendment act of 1956 same person can be appointed as the Governor for two or more states.
  • If the same person is appointed as the Governor of two or more states the salary is shared among the states in such proportion as decided by the President.
  • The official residence of the Governor is called the Raj Bhavan.
  • The Ministers hold office during the pleasure of the Governor.
  • The Advocate General holds office during the pleasure of the Governor.
  • The State Election Commissioner cannot be removed by the Governor. He can be removed only in like manner and on the like grounds as a judge of a High Court
  • e Chairman and the members of the state Public Service are removed by the President and not by the governor.
  •  The Governor holds the office during the pleasure of the President. The pleasure of the President is not justiciable. The Governor has no security of tenure.

Miscellaneous:

In AP the Governor ESL Narasimhan rejected the advice of the Council of Ministers: On December 20, the Governor rejected the Cabinets recommendation not to sanction permission to the CBI to prosecute Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao in Vanpic project case. Four cases have been sighted by the lawyers in support of their contention and the most important one was Supreme Court’s verdict in the case relating to Abhaya Singh Chautala and Ajay Singh Vs CBI. The SC ruled that in Chautalas case that the HC of Punjab and Haryana was right in holding that the appellants had abused an entirely different office than the one they were holding on the date on which cognizance was taken. Hence it is also applicable to Dharmana Prasad who was holding the portfolio as Revenue Minister then and now Roads and Building, hence there no necessity of permission from the government and can be prosecuted by the CBI directly.



June 26, 2014: 

  • The central government has sought the legal opinion from the Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi on whether the serving Governors can be questioned by the CBI. This is with relation to question two serving Governors who are witnesses in Augusta Westland VVIP helicopter deal scam.
  • The Attorney-General gave a green signal for questioning Mr Narayana and he was questioned by the CBI on June 27, 2014.
  • The two Governors are Mr Narayana (West Bengal) the then National Security Advisor and Mr. Wanchoo (Goa) the then chief of Special Protection Group (SPG).
  • Earlier the UPA government denied the permission to the CBI to question the Governors on the grounds that they enjoy Constitutional immunity under Article 361 of the Indian Constitution.