• 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 once.

  • 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 Governor.

  • 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 thing.

  • 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 Cabinet.

  • 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 Governor.

  • 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 President has

  • 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 is satisfied.

  • 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.

  • The Governor 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'.

  • In 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 Art. 74.

  • 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 the Constitution.

  • 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 be formed.

  • 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 discretion.

  • 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 Constitution.

  • 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 collectively.

  • 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 undesirable colleague.

  • In the above context, the legitimate conclusion that can be drawn that the Governor has the power to dismiss an individual Minister at anytime.

  • 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 Assembly.

  • 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.

  • The assessment 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 occupies 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 state.

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.



1.   35 or above years of age

2.   citizen of India

3.   He 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 legislatures.

He is immune from legal liability regarding official acts. He has immunity from criminal proceeding even for personal acts. Civil proceedings regarding personal acts can be started against him after two months notice.

Constitution allows 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.

Discretionary powers:

1.   Reservation of bill for president’s consideration.

2.   recommendation to impose presidents rule in state

3.   while exercising additional duty as administrator of UT he needn't take advice of the cabinet.

4.   Seeking information of administrative and legislative matters from state


Powers of Governor:

Executive powers: 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.

He can 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 position of panchayats.

He is chancellor of all universities in state and appoints vice chancellors.


Legislative powers:

Dissolving Vidhan Sabha. Summoning and proroguing house of state legislature and dissolve legislative assembly.

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 represented.

He decides questions of disqualification of members after advice of EC which is binding.

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:

  1. Give his assent
  2. Withhold his assent / Absolute veto  [only for ordinary bills / money bills]
  3. 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 ]
  4. 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:

Ø  against provision of constitution

Ø  opposed to directive principles of state policy

Ø  against larger interest of country

Ø  of grave national importance

Ø  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.

Judicial powers:

1.      Appoints, promotes, and makes postings of district judges in consultation with state high court.

2.      Appoints people to state judicial service after consulting state high court and state PSC.

3.      He can grant pardon [remove sentence and conviction], remit [reduce sentence but not its character], reprieve [stay on execution for a temporary period], commute [substitute sentence with a lighter form] or respite [award lesser sentence due to special factors of convict] sentence of a convict sentenced under state law.

President Governor
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 to it. 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 President's consideration (a) If it is a Money Bill, the President may either declare that he assents to it or withholds his assent to it (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 time 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.

President Governor
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 session.
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 him.
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 second case.


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