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THE OFFICE OF GOVERNOR | INDIAN POLITY

Introduction | THE OFFICE OF GOVERNOR | POLITY 

  • The state executive is made up by Governor, Chief Minister, Council of Ministers and Advocate-General of State. Governor, as President, heads the state government. Article 153-167 in the Indian Constitution deal with the provisions related to the state governments of the country.
  • Governor is a titular head or constitutional head and at the same time, he is the agent of the centre as the union government nominates Governor in each state.
  • The governor is the chief executive head of the state. But, like the president, he is a nominal executive head (titular or constitutional head).
  • The governor also acts as an agent of the central government. Therefore, the office of governor has a dual role.
  • Usually, there is a governor for each state, but the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1956 facilitated the appointment of the same person as a governor for two or more states.

Appointment of the Governor

  • The Indian President appoints Governor for each state by warrant under his hand and seal. Central Government is responsible to nominate the governor for each state.
  • Unlike elections of President, there is no direct or indirect election for the post of Governor.
  • Office of a governor is not a part of union executive and is an independent constitutional office. The governor doesn’t serve the union government and neither is subordinate to it.
  • The nomination of a governor by the Union and his appointment by the President in India is based on the Canadian model of government.
  • A governor must:
    • Be a citizen of India.
    • Be at least 35 years of age.
    • Not be a member of the either house of the parliament or house of the state legislature.
    • Not hold any office of profit.

Term of office of the Governor

The term of governor’s office is normally 5 years but it can be terminated earlier by:

  • Dismissal by the president on the advice of the council of minister headed by the prime minister of the country.
  • Dismissal of governors without a valid reason is not permitted. However, it is the duty of the President to dismiss a governor whose acts are upheld by courts as unconstitutional and malafide.
  • Resignation by the governor.

Conditions Of Governor’s Office | THE OFFICE OF GOVERNOR | POLITY 

The Constitution lays down the following conditions for the the governor’s office:

  • He cannot be a member of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. If he has been a member of either of the house, he should vacate the seat on his first day as Governor in the office.
  • He should not hold any office of profit.
  • For his residence, Raj Bhavan is provided to him without the payment of rent.
  • Parliament decides his emoluments, allowances and privileges.
  • When a governor is responsible for two or more states, the emoluments and allowances payable to him are shared by the states in such proportion as the President may determine.
  • Parliament cannot diminish his emoluments and allowances during his term of office.
  • He is given immunity from any criminal proceedings, even in respect of his personal acts
  • Arrest or imprisonment of Governor cannot take place. Only civil proceedings can be initiated for his personal acts that too after giving two months’ of prior notice.

Powers And Functions Of Governor

  • A governor possesses executive, legislative, financial and judicial powers more or less analogous to the President of India.
  • However, he has no diplomatic, military or emergency powers like the president.
  • The powers and functions of the governor can be studied under the following heads:
    • Executive powers.
    • Legislative powers.
    • Financial powers.
    • Judicial powers.

Executive Powers of the Governor | THE OFFICE OF GOVERNOR | POLITY 

The following comes under his executive powers:

  • Every executive action that the state government takes, is to be taken in his name.
  • How an order that has been taken up his name is to be authenticated, the rules for the same can be specified by the Governor.
  • He may/may not make rules to simplify the transaction of business of the state government.
  • Chief Ministers and other ministers of the states are appointed by him.
  • It is his responsibility to appoint Tribal Welfare Minister in the states of:
    • Chattisgarh
    • Jharkhand
    • Madhya Pradesh
    • Odisha
  • He appoints the advocate general of states and determines their remuneration
  • He appoints the following people:
    • State Election Commissioner
    • Chairman and Members of the State Public Service Commission
    • Vice-Chancellors of the universities in the state
  • He seeks information from the state government
  • A constitutional emergency in the state is recommended to the President by him.
  • The governor enjoys extensive executive powers as an agent of the President during the President’s rule in the state.

Legislative Powers of the Governor | THE OFFICE OF GOVERNOR | POLITY 

The following are the legislative powers of the governor:

  • It’s in his power to prorogue the state legislature and dissolve the state legislative assemblies
  • He addresses the state legislature at the first session of every year
  • If any bill is pending in the state legislature, Governor may/may not send a bill to the state legislature concerning the same
  • If the speaker of the legislative assembly is absent and same is Deputy Speaker, then Governor appoints a person to preside over the session
  • As President nominates 12 members in Rajya Sabha, Governor appoints ⅙ of the total members of the legislative council from the fields of:
    • Literature
    • Science
    • Art
    • Cooperative Movement
    • Social Service
  • As President nominates 2 members in the Lok Sabha, Governor nominates 1 member in state legislative assembly from Anglo-Indian Community.
  • He can consult Election Commission for the disqualification of members
  • With respect to the bill introduced in the state legislature, he can:
    • Give his assent
    • Withhold his assent
    • Return the bill
    • Reserve the bill for the President’s consideration (In instances where the bill introduced in the state legislature endangers the position of state High Court.)

Financial Powers of the Governor

  • The following are the financial powers and functions of the Governor:
  • He looks over the state budget being laid in the state legislature
  • His recommendation is a prerequisite for the introduction of money bill in the state legislature
  • He recommends for the demand for grants which otherwise cannot be given
  • Contingency Fund of State is under him and he makes advances out that to meet unforeseen expenditure
  • State Finance Commission is constituted every five years by him.

Judicial Powers of the Governor

The following are the judicial powers and functions of the Governor:

  • He has following pardoning powers against punishment:
    • Pardon
    • Reprieve
    • Respite
    • Remit
    • Commute
  • President consults the Governor while appointing judges of High Court
  • In consultation with state High Court, Governor makes appointments, postings and promotions of the district judges
  • In consultation with the state high court and state public service commission, he also appoints persons to the judicial services.

Governor’s Discretionary Powers

  • The Governor of state, unlike the President of India, is conferred with power to act at his own discretion. There are two categories of discretion for the governor. One is Constitutional Discretion and the other is Situational Discretion.

Removal of Governors by Center

  • Disapproving the practice of replacing Governors after a new government comes to power at the Centre, the Supreme Court in 2010 had said that the Governors of states cannot be changed in an arbitrary and capricious manner with the change of power. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan held that a Governor can be replaced only under “compelling” reasons for proven misconduct or other irregularities. The Bench also said the Governor can be removed only under “compelling reasons” and what the compelling reasons are depends on facts and situations of a particular case. The landmark decision came on a PIL filed was in 2004 by then BJP MP B P Singhal challenging the removal of Governors of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Orissa by the previous UPA government.

 

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