Powers and Functions of Governor

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2017
Powers and Functions of Governor
Powers and Functions of Governor

The office of the Governor of State has been envisaged by the Constitution of India as the chief executive head of a State. Despite being only a nominal head of the Executive, the Governor of State plays a significant role in the polity of the concerned state through his/her diverse executive, legislative, and judicial powers. This article of NEXT IAS aims to study in detail the Governor of State, its powers, functions, and other related aspects.

  • The Governor of State is the highest office of the State under the constitutional framework of India.
  • The office of the Governor of State has been envisaged as having dual roles:
    • The Nominal Executive Head or Titular or Constitutional Head of the State Executive, as well as
    • An agent of the Central Government.
The State Executive consists of:
1. The Governor of State,
2. The Chief Minister of State,
3. The Council of Ministers (CoM), and
4. The Advocate General of State (AGS).

Read our detailed article on the Governor of State.

A Governor possesses Executive, Legislative, Financial, and Judicial powers that are more or less analogous to those of the President of India. However, unlike the President, the Governor does not hold Diplomatic, Military, or Emergency powers.

The powers and the functions of the office of the Governor of a State are described in detail in the sections that follow.

The Executive powers and functions of Governor are as follows:

  • All executive actions of the government of a State are formally taken in his/her name.
  • He/she can make rules specifying the manner in which the orders and other instruments made and executed in his/her name shall be authenticated.
  • He/she can make rules for more convenient transactions of the business of a State government and for the allocation among the ministers of the said business.
  • He/she appoints the Chief Minister and other ministers. They also hold office during his/her pleasure. There should be a Tribal Welfare Minister in the States of Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha appointed by him/her. The State of Bihar was excluded from this provision by the 94th Amendment Act of 2006.
  • He/she appoints the Advocate General of a State and determines his/her remuneration. The Advocate General holds office during the pleasure of the Governor.
  • He/she appoints the State Election Commissioner and determines his/her conditions of service and tenure of office. However, the State Election Commissioner can be removed only in a like manner and on the like grounds as a Judge of a High Court.
  • He/she appoints the Chairman and members of the State Public Service Commission. However, they can be removed only by the President and not by a Governor.
  • He/she can seek any information relating to the administration of the affairs of the State and proposals for legislation from the Chief Minister.
  • He/she can require the Chief Minister to submit for the consideration of the Council of Ministers any matter on which a decision has been taken by a minister but which has not been considered by the Council.
  • He/she can recommend the imposition of a Constitutional Emergency in a State to the President. During the period of the President’s rule in a State, the Governor enjoys extensive executive powers as an agent of the President of India.
  • He/she acts as the Chancellor of universities in the State. He/she also appoints the Vice-Chancellors of universities in the State.

The Governor, as an integral part of the State Legislature, wields the following legislative powers:

  • He/she can summon or prorogue the State Legislature and dissolve the State Legislative Assembly.
  • He/she can address the State Legislature at the commencement of the first session after each general election and the first session of each year.
  • He/she can send messages to the House or Houses of the State Legislature, with respect to a bill pending in the legislature or otherwise.
  • He/she can appoint any member of the State Legislative Assembly to preside over its proceedings when the offices of both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker fall vacant. Similarly, he/she can appoint any member of the State Legislative Council to preside over its proceedings when the offices of both Chairman and Deputy Chairman fall vacant.
  • He/she nominates one-sixth of the members of the State Legislative Council from amongst persons having special knowledge or practical experience in literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service.
  • Before 2020, the Governor could nominate one member from the Anglo Indian Community in the State Legislative Assembly (Article 333).
    • However, the 104th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2019 has discontinued this provision by abolishing the Anglo-Indian reserved seats in India’s Parliament and State Legislatures in January 2020.
  • He/she decides on the question of disqualification of members of the State Legislature in consultation with the Election Commission of India.
  • When a bill is sent to the Governor after it is passed by the State Legislature, he/she can:
    • give his/her assent to the bill,
    • withhold his/her assent to the bill,
    • return the bill (if it is not a money bill) for reconsideration by the State Legislature. However, if the bill is passed again by the State Legislature with or without amendments, the Governor has to give his/her assent to the bill.
    • reserve the bill for the consideration of the President.
      • In one case such reservation is obligatory, that is, where the bill passed by the State Legislature endangers the position of the State High Court.
      • In addition, the Governor can also reserve the bill if it is of the following nature:
        1. ultra-vires, that is, against the provisions of the Constitution.
        2. opposed to the Directive Principles of State Policy.
        3. against the larger interest of the country.
        4. of grave national importance.
        5. dealing with the compulsory acquisition of property under Article 31A of the Indian Constitution.
  • He/she can promulgate ordinances when the State Legislature is not in session. He/she can also withdraw an ordinance at any time.
  • He/she lays the reports of the State Finance Commission, the State Public Service Commission and the Comptroller and Auditor-General relating to the accounts of the State, before the State Legislature.

The financial powers and functions of Governor are listed below:

  • He/she sees that the Annual Financial Statement (State Budget) is laid before the State Legislature.
  • Money bills can be introduced in the State Legislature only with the prior recommendation of the Governor.
  • No demand for a grant can be made except on the recommendation of the Governor.
  • He/she can make advances out of the Contingency Fund of the State to meet any unforeseen expenditure.
  • He/she constitutes a State Finance Commission after every five years to review the financial position of the Panchayats and the Municipalities.

The judicial powers and functions of Governor are:

  • He/she can grant pardons, reprieves, respites and remissions of punishment or suspend, remit and commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the State extends.
  • He/she is consulted by the President while appointing the judges of the concerned State High Court.
  • He/she makes appointments, postings and promotions of the district judges in consultation with the State High Court.
  • He/she also appoints persons to the judicial service of the State (other than district judges) in consultation with the State High Court and the State Public Service Commission.

The Governor, as the highest constitutional authority in the State, occupies a pivotal position in the democratic framework of the State. Through his dual role as constitutional head of the State as well as the representative of the Centre, he ensures the smooth functioning of and coordination among the three wings of the State government along with acting as a bridge between the Central and State governments.

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