Chapter 29: GOVERNOR OF STATES
As stated at the outset, our Constitution provides for a federal
Government, having separate systems of administration for the Union and its
Units, namely. the States. The Constitution contains provisions for the
governance of both.
It lays down a uniform structure for the State
Government, in Part VI of the Constitution, which is applicable to all the
States, save the State of Jammu & Kashmir which has a separate Constitution
for Its State Government.
Broadly speaking the pattern of Government in the States is the same
as that for the Union, namely, a parliamentary system,-the executive head
being a constitutional ruler who is to act according to the advice 'of Ministers
responsible to the State Legislature (or its popular House, where there are
two Houses),-except in matters in respect of which the Governor of a State
is empowered by the Constitution to act 'in his discretion'
As the head of the executive power of a State is the Governor just as
the President stands at the head of the executive
The executive power of the State is vested in the Governor and all executive action of the State has to be
taken in the name of the Governor.
Normally, there shall be a Governor for
each State but an amendment of 1956 makes it possible to appoint the same
person as the Governor for the two or more States [Art 153].
There is no bar to the
selection of a Governor from amongst members of a Legislature but if a
Member of a Legislature is appointed Governor, he ceases to be a Member
immediately upon such appointment.
The grounds upon which a Governor may be removed by the
President are not laid down in the Constitution, but It is obvious that this
power will be sparingly used to meet with cases of gross delinquency, such
as bribery, corruption, treason, and the like or violation of the Constitution.'
There is no bar to a person being appointed Governor more than
The original plan in the Draft Constitution was to have elected Governors. But in the Constituent Assembly, it was replaced
by the method of appointment by the President.
It would save the country from the evil consequences of still another
election, run on personal issues.
To sink every province into the vortex of an
election with millions of primary voters but with no possible issue other than
personal, would be highly detrimental to the countrys progress.
The Governor were to be elected by direct vote, then he might
consider himself to be superior to the Chief Minister, who was merely
returned from a single constituency, and this might lead to frequent friction
between the Governor and the Chief Minister.
The expenses involved and the elaborate machinery of election
would be out of proportion to the powers vested in this Governor who was
to act as a mere constitutional head.
A Governor elected by adult franchise to be at the top of the
political life in the State would soon prefer to be the Chief Minister or a
Minister with effective powers.
The party in power during the election would
naturally put up for Governorship a person who was not as outstanding as
the future Chief Minister with the result that the State would not be able to
get the best man of the party.
All the process of election would have to be
gone through only to get a second rate man of the party elected as
Being subsidiary in imponance to the Chief Minister, he would
be the nominee of the Chief Minister of the State, which was not a desirable
Through the procedure of appointment by the President, the Union
Government would be able to maintain intact Its control over the States.
The method of election would encourage separatist tendencies. The
Governor would then be the nominee of the Government of that particular
province to stand for the Governorship.
The stability and unity of the
Governmental machinery of the country as a whole could be achieved only
by adopting the system of nomination.
A nominated Governor would not be able to work for the welfare of
a State because he would be a foreigner to that State and would not be able
to understand its special needs.
There was a chance of friction between the Governor and the Chief
Minister of the State no less under the system of nomination, if the Premier
of the State did not belong to the same party as the nominated Governor."
The argument that the system of election would not be compatible
with the Parliamentary or Cabinet system of Government is not strong
enough in view of the fact that even at the Centre there is an elected
President to be advised by a Council of Ministers.
Of course, the election of
the President is not direct but Indirect
An appointed Governor under the instruction of the Centre might
like to run the administration in a certain way contrary to the wishes of the
In this tussle, the Cabinet would prevail and the President-appointed
Governor would have to be recalled.
The system of election, therefore,
was far more compatible with good, better and efficient Government plus
the right of self-Government
The method of appointment of the head of the State executive by
the federal executive is repugnant to the strict federal system as it obtains in
the U.S.A. and Australia.
In actual working. it may be said that in States where one party has a
clear majority, the part played by the Governor has been that of a constitutional
and Impartial head.
But in those States where there are multiple
parties with an uncertain command over the Legislature, the Governor has
acted as a mere agent of the Centre in various matters, such as inviting a person to form a Ministry
Because he belonged to the ruling party at the Centre, even
though he had no clear following (as in the case of Sri Rajagopalachari in
Madras, after the General election in 1952) or bringing about the removal of
a Ministry having the confidence of the Legislature, by means of a report
under Art. 356 (as happened In Kerala in L959, in the case of the Communist
Ministry headed by Sri Namboodiripad).
Nevertheless, there is one aspect in
which the system of appointing an outsider by the Centre has proved to be
beneficial, and that is the prevention of disruptive and separatist forces from
impairing the national unity and strength as might otherwise have been
possible without the knowledge of the Centre. under a locally elected
It is from this standpolnt alone that one can tolerate the patently
undemocratic instances of appointing a retiring or a retired member of the
Indian Civil Service or the Indian Administrative Service (who Is obviously
. a veteran bureaucrat) or of the Armed Forces as a Governor.
The Governor has no emergency powers to
meet the situation arising from external aggression or armed rebellion as the
But he has the power to make a report to the
President whenever he is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which
Government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the
provisions of the Constitution .
Thereby inviting the President to
assume to himself the functions of the Government of the State or any of
them. (This is popularly known as 'President's Rule'.]
Like the President, the Governor has the power to nominate members
of the Anglo-Indian community to the Legislative Assembly of his State, if he
That ther are not adequately represented in the Assembly; but
while the President s corresponding power with regard to the House of the
People is limited to a maximum of two members, in the case of the
Governor the limit is one member only, since the Constitution (23rd
Amendment) Act, 1969 [Art. 333].
As regards the upper Chamber of the State Legislature (in States where
the Legislature is bi-cameral), namely, the Legislative Council.
has a power of nomination of members corresponding to the power of the
President in relation to the CouncU of States, and the power is similarly
exercisable in respect of "persons having special knowledge or practical
experience in respect of matters such as literature, Science, art, co-operative
movement and social service" [Art. 171(5)].
It is to be noted that 'cooperative
movement' is not included in the corresponding list relating to the
Council of States.
The Governor can so nominate 1/6 part of the total
members of the Legislative Council.
Constitution does not empower the President to exercise any function 'in his dlscrenon', it
authorises the Governor to exercise some functions 'on his discretion'.
this respect, the principle of Cabinet responsibility in the States differs from
that in the Union. It is because of this discretionary Jurisdiction of the Governor that no
amendment was made by the 42nd Amendment Act in Art. 163(1) as in
In the exercise of the functions which the Governor Is empowered to
exercise in his discretion, he will not be required to act according to the
advice of his ministers or even to seek such advice.
Again, if any question
arises whether any matter is or is not a matter as regards which the
Governor is required by the Constitution to act in his discretion, the decision
of the Governor shall be final, and the validity of anything done by the
Governor shall not be called into question on the ground that he ought or
ought not to have acted in his discretion .
The making of a
report to the President under Art. 356, that a situation has arisen in which
the Government of State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions
of the Constitution.
Such a report may possibly be made against a
Ministry in power,-for instance, if it attempts to misuse its powers to subvert
It is obvious that in such a case the report cannot be
made according to ministerial advice. No such advice, again, will be available
where one Ministry has resigned and another alternative Ministry cannot
The making of a report under Art. 356, thus, must be regarded
as a function to be exercised by the Governor in the exercise of his
In some other matters, such as the reservation of a Bill for
consideration of the President [Art. 200], the Governor may not always be in
agreement with his Council of Ministers, particularly when the Governor
happens to belong to a party other than that of the Ministry.
In such cases,
the Governor may, in particular situations, be justified in acting without
ministerial advice, if he considers that the Bill In question would affect the
powers of the Union or contravene any of the provisions of the Constitution
even though his Ministry may be of a different Opinion.
A sharp controversy has of late arisen upon the controversy to question whether a Governor has the power to dismiss
a Chief a Council of Ministers, headed by the Chief Minister,
Minister on the assumption that the Chief Minister and his Cabinet have lost their majority in the popular House of the Legislature.
It should be noted that the Cabinet system of Government has
been adopted in our Constitution from the United Kingdom and some of the
salient conventions underlying the British system have been codified in our
In the absence of anything to the contrary in the context,
therefore, it must be concluded that the position under our Constitution is
the same as in the United Kingdom.
In England, the Ministers being legally the servants of the Crown, at
law the Crown has the power to dismiss each Minister, individually or
But upon the growth of the Parliamentary system, it has been
established that the Ministers, collectively, hold their office so long as they
command a majority in the House of Commons.
This is known as the
'collective responsibility' of Ministers.
The legal responsibility of the
Ministers, as a collective body, to the Crown has thus been replaced by the
political responsibility of the Ministry to Parliament, and the Crown's power
to dismiss a Prime Minister of his Cabinet has become obsolete,-the last
instance being 1783.
The Crown retains, however, his power to dismiss a
Minister individually and, in practice, this power is exercised by the Crown
on the advice of the Prime Minister himself, when he seeks to weed out an
In the above context, the legitimate conclusion that can be drawn that the Governor has the power to dismiss an individual Minister at
But he can dismiss a Council of Ministers or the Chief Minster (whose dismissal means a fall of the Council of Ministers), only
when the Legislative Assembly has expressed its want of
confidence in the Council of Ministers, either by a
direct vote of no-confidence or censure or by defeating an important
measure or the like, and the Governor does not think fit to dissolve the
The Governor cannot do so at his pleasure on his subjective
estimate of the strength of the Chief Minister in the Assembly ar any point of
time, because it is for the Legislative Assembly to enforce the collective
responsibility of the Council of Ministers to itself, under Art. 164(2).
The above view of the Author has been upheld by the Supreme Court
In S.R. Bommai v. Union of India,19 (a 9-Judge Bench) by observing that
wherever a doubt arises whether a Ministry has lost the confidence of the
House, the only way of testing is on the floor of the House.
of the strength of the Ministry is not a matter of private opinion of any
individual, be he the Governor or the President
The state executive
has Governor [head], chief minister and the council of
ministers and advocate
general. Governor is also an agent of the centre. One
governor can be appointed
for two or more states.
Governor is appointed by the president and
office during his pleasure. Term is 5 years.
President can transfer a governor.
Or reappoint a governor after his term is over in same
state or different
President can make alternative arrangement
for functions of governor in
case of contingency e.g.: appoint Chief Justice of H.C
to function as a
temporary governor. No such provision is made in the
constitution for emergency situations.
or above years of age
citizen of India
can’t be a Member of Parliament or state legislatures. The
day he is appointed
in as governor he is deemed to have vacated his seat in
He is immune from
legal liability regarding official acts. He has immunity
proceeding even for personal acts. Civil proceedings
regarding personal acts
can be started against him after two months notice.
governor discretion in his official functions. Also the
advice of the chief
minister and the council of ministers isn’t binding on
the governor. Whenever
there is a doubt on if the activity is at his discretion
or not the decision is
made by the governor and is final. Also whether he has
or hasn’t discretion on
a matter can’t be challenged in courts.
of bill for president’s consideration.
to impose presidents rule in state
exercising additional duty as administrator of UT he
needn't take advice of the cabinet.
information of administrative and legislative matters from
Powers of Governor:
All executive actions of state are taken in his name.
Powers of the governor by convention have to be exercised
with the advice of the CM + council of ministers. But
constitution doesn't put any compulsions.
make rules specifying which orders and instruments
made and executed in his name shall be authenticated.
He can makes rules for more
convenient transaction of business of State government and
allocation of said
business among ministers.
He appoints CM and council of
ministers and the attorney general; they occupy office
during his pleasure.
There should be a tribal welfare ministry in Jharkhand,
odissa, MP, Chhattisgarh.
He appoints State EC, Chairman and members of
State PSC + finance commission every five years to review
He is chancellor of all
universities in state and appoints vice chancellors.
Dissolving Vidhan Sabha. Summoning
and proroguing house of state legislature and dissolve
He can send messages to the Houses
of State Legislature regarding bills or otherwise. He
addresses state legislatures at
the beginning of first session after elections and at
start of each year.
He can nominate one sixth members
to state legislative council from fields of art,
science, cooperative movement,
literature and social service.
He can nominate one member of Anglo
Indian community to legislative assembly if he
feels community isn’t adequately
He decides questions of
disqualification of members after advice of EC which is
When the office of presiding
officer and deputy presiding officers becomes empty he
appoints a member for
temporarily presiding over the house.
Money bills and demand for grants
can be introduced only after his assent. He can make
advances out of
contingency fund of state.
He can make ordinances when state
legislature not in session or only one house in session in
case of bicameral
legislatures. He can withdraw ordinances anytime.
A bill can become an act only if
it has received governor’s assent. When a bill is given to
the governor he can:
- Give his assent
- Withhold his assent / Absolute veto
[only for ordinary bills / money bills]
- Return the bill for reconsideration /
Suspensive veto. However if the bill is again passed by
parliament then he has to give his assent to it. [ only
for ordinary bills ]
- Reserve bill for assent of president. If
the bill endangers position of high court than it has to
be reserved. Optionally governor may reserve bill in
following cases too:
against provision of
opposed to directive
principles of state policy
interest of country
of grave national
deals with compulsory
acquisition of property
A bill whether ordinary or money
bill when reserved for presidents assent needs no role
of governor in future.
Hence if the bill is returned by president and if the
state legislatures pass
it again it goes to the president directly.
promotes, and makes postings of district judges in
consultation with state high
Appoints people to
state judicial service after consulting state high court
and state PSC.
can grant pardon [remove sentence and conviction], remit
[reduce sentence but
not its character], reprieve [stay on execution for a
commute [substitute sentence with a lighter form] or
respite [award lesser
sentence due to special factors of convict] sentence of a
under state law.
|May assent to the Bill
passed by the Houses of Parliament
||May assent to the Bill
passed by the State Legislature.
|May declare that he withholds
his assent, in which case, the
Union Bill fails to become law.
||May declare that he
withholds his assent, in which case,
it fails to become law.
|In case of a Bill other than a
Money Bill, may return it for reconsideration
by Parliament, with a
message to both Houses. If the Bill is
again passed by Parliament, with or
without amendments, and again
presented to the President, the
President shall have no other
alternative than to declare his assent
||In case of a Bill other than
a Money Bill, may return it for
reconsideration by the State
Legislature, with a message. If the
Legislature again passes the Bill
with or without amendments, and it
is again presented to the Governor.
the Governor shall have no other
alternative than to declare his
assent to it
|(B) In the case of a State Bill
reserved by the Governor for the
(a) If it is a Money Bill, the
President may either declare that he
assents to it or withholds his assent
(b) If It is a Bill other than a
Money Bill, the President may-
(i) declare that he assents to it or
that he withholds his assent from it, or (ii) return the Bill to the State
Legislature with a message for
reconsideration, in which case, the
State Legislature must reconsider the
Bill within six months, and if it is
passed again, with or without
amendments, it must be again
presented, direct, to the President for
his assent, but the President is not
bound to give his assent, even
though the Bill has been passed by
the State Legislature, for a second
||Instead of either assenting
to, Withholding assent from. or
returning the Bill for reconsideration
by the State Legislature,
Governor may reserve a Bill for
consideration of the President, in
any case he thinks fit.
Such reservation is, however,
obligatory if the Bill is so much
derogatory to the powers of the
High Court that it would endanger
the constitutional position of the
High Court, if the Bill became Law. Once the Governor reserves a
Bill for the President's considera-
tion, the subsequent enactment of
the Bill is in the hands of the
President and the Governor shall
have no further part in its career.
|Can make Ordinance only
when either of the two Houses of
Parliament is not in session.
||Can make Ordinance only
when the State Legislature or either
of the two Houses (where the State
Legislature is bi-cameral) is not in
|The President must be satisfied that circumstances exist
which render it necessary for him to take immediate action.
||The Governor must be satisfied that circumstances exist
which render it necessary for him to take immediate action. But Governor cannot make an
Ordinance relating to three specified
matters, without instructions
from President (a) A Bill containing the same provisions would under the Constitution
have required the previous sanction of the President for the introduction
thereof into the Legislature; or (b) the Governor would have deemed it
necessary to reserve a Bill containing the same provisions for the
consideration of the President; or (c) an Act of the Legislature of the State
containing the same provisions would under this Constitution have been
Invalid unless, having been reserved for the consideration of the President, it
had received the assent of the Prestdent's
|Ordinance has the same
force and is subject to the same
limitations as an Act of Parliament.
||Ordinance has the same
force and is subject to the same
limitations as an Act of the State
Legislature. But as regards repugnancy with
a Union law relating to a Concur-
rent subject, if the Governor's Ordi-
nance has been made to pursuance
of 'instructions of the President', the
Governor's Ordinance shall prevail
as if it were an Act of the State
Legislature which bad been
reserved for the consideration of
the President and assented to by
|Must be laid before both
Houses of Parliament when it reassembles.
||Must be laid before the
Legislative Assembly or before
both Houses of the State Legislature
(where it is bi-cameral], when
the Legislature re-assembles.
|Shall cease to operate on
the expiry of six weeks from the re-
assembly of Parliament or, if, before
that period, resolutions disapproving
the Ordinance are passed by both
Houses, from the date of the second
of such resolutions.
||Shall cease to operate on
the expiry of six weeks from the re-
assembly of the State Legislature
or, if before the expiry of that
period, resolutions disapproving
the Ordinance are passed by the
Assembly or, where there are two
Houses the resolution passed by the Assembly is agreed to by the
Council, from the date of the
passing of the resolution by the
Assembly in the first case, and of
the agreement of the Council in the
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