In India, a governor is the constitutional head of each of the twenty-nine states. The governor is appointed by the President of India for a term of five years, and holds office at the President’s pleasure. The governor is de jure head of the state government; all its executive actions are taken in the governor’s name. However, the governor must act on the advice of the popularly elected council of ministers, headed by the chief minister, who thus hold de facto executive authority at the state-level.
Powers of Governor
- He appoints SPSC (State Public Service Commission, eg- West Bengal Public Service Commission) members. But he can’t remove them and their removal is only by the president on the report of Supmreme Court on a reference made by the president.
- He can’t appoint judges of High Court but has to be consulted by the president.
- He can nominate 1 member of Anglo-Indian community.
- He can nominate 1/6 members of Legislative Council for LSACS (literature, science, art, cooperatives, social service).
- If a dispute arises over the qualification of any member for state legislature, his decision will be final and has to be based on the opinion of election commission.
- Money bills, demands for grants, annual financial statement have to receive his sanction to be laid down in state legislature.
- He can’t return a money bill for reconsideration of the assembly. But he can reserve a money bill for the consideration of the president. The president has to either agree or reject the bill (can’t send it back for reconsideration).
- In case of other bills, he can send it back to the assembly for reconsideration with a message. Or he may reserve it for presidential consideration and the president in addition to agreeing or rejecting may also refer it back to the legass for reconsideration. The president may also refer the bill for SC’s advice.
- In a concurrent list, the governor’s ordinance shall prevail if it has been made on president’s instructions.
- A president’s instruction for promulgating an ordinance is needed when – (a) such a matter would have needed presidential assent after being passed by state legislature. (b) such a matter would have needed presidential sanction to be introduced as a bill in the state legislature. e.g. imposing restrictions on inter-state commerce under Art 304. (c) such a matter would have been reserved by the governor in his discretion for presidential consideration.
Discretionary Powers of the Governor
Article 163 reads: “163. Council of Ministers to Aid and Advise Governor.-
(1) There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister as the head to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions, except in so far as he is by or under this Constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion.
(2) If any question arises whether any matter is or is not a matter as respects which the Governor is by or under this Constitution required to act in his discretion, the decision of the Governor in his discretion shall be final, and the validity of anything done by the Governor shall not be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion.
(3) The question whether any, and if so what, advice was tendered by Ministers to the Governor shall not be inquired into in any court.”
Judicial Powers of the Governor
- Under Article 192 of the Constitution the power to determine whether any member of the legislative assembly has become subject to any of the disqualifications has been conferred on the Governor and his decision is final.
- The Governor, in consultation with the High Court, is also given the power to frame rules in relation to the recruitment of the subordinate judiciary as well appointing the members of the subordinate judiciary.
Special Powers of Governor (Art 371)
- Governors of Maharastra and Gujarat have to pay special attention to development of Vidharbha and Saurastra.
- Governor of Nagaland has special responsibility for law and order in the state.
- Governor of Manipur has special responsibility to ensure proper functioning of committee of the legass comprising of members from the hill areas of the state.
- Governor of Sikkhim has special responsibility for social and economic advancement of people of the state.