Introduction – Powers and Functions of Governor

There is a parliamentary type of government in the states of the Indian Union. There are two parts of state executive – i) Nominal executive ii) Real executive.

The governor under Indian constitution is the head of the state executive. As a nominal executive, he enjoys the same position in the state as the President enjoys in the centre.

Article-153 of the Constitution of India provides that “There shall be a Governor for each state”. It, however, also provides that one person can function as the governor of two or more states.

Appointment of Governor –

Article 155 of the Constitution declares “The governor of the state shall be appointed by the President by a warrant under his hand and seal.”

Qualifications of Governor-

Under-Article 157 and 158 of the Indian Constitution, certain qualifications are needed for the appointment of a governor.

  • He should be a citizen of India.
  • He should not be less than 35 years of age.
  • He should not be a member of either House of Parliament or of any house of the state legislature.
  • He should not hold any office of profit under state or union government.

Tenure of Office

According to Article-156(3) “The Governor shall hold office for a term of 5 years from the date on which he enters upon his office.”

Tenure of the Governor can be extended – 

According to Article-156(3), on the expiry of the tenure of the Governor, the outgoing governor shall remain in office till the new governor does not assume the office.

Salary and Allowances –

Under Article-158 the power to fix the salary and allowances of the Governor is vested with Parliament which cannot be decreased during the tenure of the Governor. According to a law passed in December 2008, the Governor gets rupees 1.10 lakh monthly salary. Apart from his salary he gets free accommodation and many more facilities. 

Powers and Functions of Governor in India – 

Powers of the governor under Indian constitution is broadly divided into following parts- 

(1) Executive Powers of Governor

Under-Article154 (1) of the Constitution all the executive powers have been vested in the Governor and he can make use of this power either directly or through the officer subordinate to him.

  • Being the executive head of the state, the Governor is responsible for running the administration of the state.
  • He makes the appointment of Chief Minister and with his advice, he makes the appointment of other ministers.
  •  The Governor makes rules and regulations about the distribution of portfolios among the ministers.
  • Under-Article 167 the Governor ask for any information from the Chief Minister regarding state administration.
  • The Governor makes the appointment of the Advocate General and the members of the State Public Service Commission (SPSC).

(2) Legislative Powers of Governor

  • Governor summons and prorogues the sessions of the state legislature. He has to keep in mind that there is not a gap of more than 6 months between the two sessions of the state legislature.
  •  The first session of the state legislature after the general election and its first session of a new year begins with the inaugural address delivered by the governor.
  • He can address either House or both assemble together.
  • He can send message to the state legislature for consideration which is bound to consider them.
  • Under-Article 213 of the constitution, in case the legislature is not in session the Governor can issue ordinances.
  • He nominates about 1/6 members of Upper house- Legislative Council from among persons having special knowledge in the field of science, literature, arts, etc.

(3) Financial Powers of Governor

  • A money bill cannot be introduced in the state legislature without his prior approval. 
  • The contingency fund of the state is at his disposal and he can make advances out of it to meet the unforeseen expenditure, pending its authorization by the state legislature.

(4) Judicial Powers of Governor

  • He decides matters relating to the appointment, posting, and promotion of district judges and other judicial officers.
  • He is consulted by the president at the time of the appointment of the judges of High Court.
  • He has the power of granting pardon, reprieve or remission of punishment or to suspend, relating to the matter to which the executive authority of the state extends.

(5) Discretionary Powers of Governor

Appointment of Chief Minister –

In case no party enjoys the majority confidence in the Legislative Assembly, then the decision about the appointment of the chief minister is made by the Governor with his discretion.

Guardian of the Constitution –

In case, he finds that the constitutional machinery in the state has failed, he may send his report to the president on the basis of which the president declares –  President’s rule.

To dissolve the Legislative Assembly – 

Generally, the Governor dissolves Legislative Assembly on the advice of the Chief Minister but sometimes he has to take the decision in his discretion.

The decision to dismiss the council of ministers – 

Many times the council of minister wants to remain in office, even after losing the majority confidence. Under such circumstances, the Governor takes the decision to dismiss the council of minister.

Conclusion –  Role or Position of Governor

The Governor is the constitutional head of the state and his position in the state is the same which is that of the president in the centre.

The Governor generally acts on the advice of the council of ministers.

At the face value, the power of the Governor appears to be quite formidable. Close scrutiny, however, reveals that the Governor is a nominal head who exercises almost all its powers on the advice of the chief minister and COM. 

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