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Subjects /Indian Polity / The State Executive - Governor

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02 Aug 2020

Articles 153 to 167 in Part VI of the Constitution deals with the State Executive. The State Executive consists of:

  • the Governor,
  • the Chief Minister,
  • the Council of Ministers and
  • the advocate general of the state.

The pattern of Government in the state is similar to that of Centre.

The Governor

The Governor is the chief executive head of the state and acts on the advice of the Council of Minister of the state. Just like the President, the Governor is the nominal executive head.

Generally, one governor is appointed for each state but as per 7th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1956 a person can be appointed a Governor of one or more states or Lieutenant Governor of Union Territories.

Appointment of the Governor

  • The Governor is appointed by the President on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers.
  • He holds the office for a term of 5 years and can be dismissed earlier, by the President.
  • He can be asked to continue for more time until his successor takes charge.
  • He can also be transferred from one state to another by the President.
  • His salary and allowances are drawn from consolidated fund of the state.

Qualification for the Governor

  • He must be a citizen of India.
  • He must have completed 35 years of age.
  • He must not hold any office of profit.

If a member of Parliament or state legislature is appointed as governor, his seat shall become vacant. Fresh election will be there for that vacant seat.

Immunities to the Governor

  • Under Article 361 a Governor is not answerable to any court for the performance of the powers and duties of his office.
  • No criminal proceedings can be initiated or continued in any form as long as the person holds the office of the Governor.
  • In Civil cases no such immunity is available; the only respite is that the governor should be given a two-month prior notice before initiating any proceedings
  • A court can’t issue arrest warrant or order imprisonment of governor, during his terms of office.

Powers and Functions of the Governor

The Governor of a state doesn’t enjoy military or diplomatic powers, however, he has:

  • Executive Powers
  • Legislative Powers
  • Financial Powers
  • Judicial powers

These powers are similar to the President except some limitations and restrictions.

The Governor was given certain discretionary powers not available to President.

Executive Powers

Governor is the executive head of the state. All executive actions of the state government are taken in his name.

  • He appoints the Chief Minister and, on his advice, other ministers.
  • He appoints the Advocate General of State and member of state Public Sector Committee. The advocate general holds office to the pleasure of the Governor.
  • He appoints chairman and members of the state public service commission.
  • He appoints the state election commissioner and determines his conditions of service and tenure of office.
  • He can require the chief minister to submit for the consideration of council of ministers any matter on which a decision has to be considered.
  • He acts as the chancellor of universities in the state.

Legislative Powers

  • He can address, send messages, summon and prorogue either house of state legislature and can dissolve legislative assembly of the state.
  • He ensures the laying of state’s Budget before the legislature.
  • Introduction of money bill requires his prior recommendations.
  • He has the power to issue ordinance if the state legislature is not in session.
  • Without his assent no bill can become law.
  • Under Article 200, Governor of the state can reserve a bill passed by state legislative for the consideration of President.
  • He nominates a member of Anglo-Indian community to the state assembly.
  • He nominates 1/6th of the total members of the Legislative Council.
  • He is consulted by the President in the matter of appointment of Judges of High Court of the state.

Judicial Powers

  • Like President, the Governor also enjoy the power to grant:
    • Pardons
    • Respite
    • Remission of punishment
    • Suspend
    • Commute
  • Sentences in certain cases on which the state legislature has rights.
  • In fact, this power extends only in such cases on which the state legislature is competent to make laws.He has no power to commute or pardon death sentence. (The Governor cannot take decision regarding court martial as it is union subject).

Emergency Power

  • The Government has no emergency power as such, however, he can report to the President if there is break down in constitutional machinery of the state.
  • On the report of Governor or otherwise; the President under Article 356 may impose President rule in the state.
  • If President rule is imposed in the state, the governor takes over the reign of the administration in his hands and runs it with the support of the Civil Servants.

Discretionary Power

The discretionary powers of the Governor are mentioned in Article 163 of the Constitution and in some other articles also.

  • According to Article 163, there shall be a Council of Ministers to aid and advice the governor in the exercise of his functions except so far, he is required to exercise his discretion.
  • The Article also state of any question arises, whether any matter is discretionary or not, the decision of the Governor in his discretion shall be final.
  • Governor enjoys all the discretionary powers in the state as enjoyed by President at the center. Such as:
    • In selecting a Chief Minister, if no party has majority in legislative assembly after election.
    • If no-confidence motion is passed in state Legislative Assembly after resigning Council of Minsters advice to dissolve the legislative assembly and conduct fresh election, governor is not bound to act on the advice of defeated Council of Ministers.
    • Governor can send back, the advice of Council of Minister for his reconsideration.
  • The Governor of state has discretionary power under Article 200 to reserve the bill passed by the state legislature for consideration of President under Article 356.
  • The Governor can report to the President about the failure of Constitutional machinery in the state and can invite the President to take over the Administration of the state.
  • Under Article 371, the Governor of certain state have been given special responsibility which is performed at their discretion such as:
    • For the Governor of Maharashtra and Gujarat, it is regarding the special care for development of Vidarbh and Saurashtra region of the state.
    • For the Governor of Nagaland, it is regarding maintenance of law and order as long as disturbance by the Nagas continues.
    • For the Governor of Manipur it is regarding securing the proper functioning of the committee of bill areas.
    • For Governor of Sikkim, it is for peace in the state and social and economical advancement of Discreet Sections.

Advocate General of the State

  • Like Attorney General at center, Advocate General is first legal officer of the state, having the qualifications to become Judge of High Court.
  • He is appointed by the governor on the advice of Council of Ministers of the state and holds office at the pleasure of the governor.
  • He has right of ordinance in any court in the state.
  • He has the right to attend and speak in the proceedings of either house of state legislature without any right to vote.
  • His remuneration (retainer) is determined by the governor.