Veto Power of Governor of State

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Veto Power of Governor of State
Veto Power of Governor of State

The Veto Power of Governor of State stands as a cornerstone of the state’s legislative framework. Along with allowing the Governor of State to perform its legislative functions, it offers a crucial mechanism for upholding constitutional integrity and ensuring the alignment of enacted laws with the broader interests of the State. This article of NEXT IAS aims to study in detail the Veto Power of the Governor of State, its meaning, objectives, types, and other related concepts. 

In the context of legislation, “Veto Power” refers to the authority granted to an individual or body, typically the Executive Head, such as a President or Governor, to unilaterally refuse or reject a bill passed by the legislature. It acts as a critical safeguard against unilateral legislative actions, giving the executive branch the ability to review and potentially reject laws passed by the legislature. Thus, it acts as a mechanism for checks and balances between the executive and the legislature. 

The veto power enjoyed by the Executive can be classified into 4 categories:

  • Absolute Veto – It means withholding assent to the bill passed by the legislature.
  • Qualified Veto – It can be overridden by the legislature with a higher majority.
  • Suspensive Veto – It can be overridden by the legislature with an ordinary majority.
  • Pocket Veto – It means taking no action on the bill passed by the legislature.

The Governor, as the Chief Executive Head of the State, has been assigned a vital role in the state’s legislative process. To enable him to perform this role effectively, the Constitution of India has vested the Governor of State with veto powers.

The Veto Power of the Governor of a State refers to the constitutional authority granted to the Governor to withhold or reject legislation passed by the State Legislative Assembly in the case of a unicameral legislature, or by both the Houses, which includes Legislative Council, in the case of a bicameral legislature.

The constitutional provisions regarding the Veto Power of the Governor of State are as follows:

  • Article 200: It deals with the Governor’s veto power over a bill passed by the State Legislature.
  • Article 201: It deals with the President’s veto power over bills passed by the State Legislatures and which are reserved for the consideration of the President by the Governor of that State.

The objectives of the Veto power of the Governor of State are as follows:

  • To prevent hasty and ill-conceived legislation by the State Legislature,
  • To prevent the legislation that may be unconstitutional,
  • To act as a safeguard for the Rule of Law by ensuring all legislation adheres to the constitutional framework,
  • To provide a check against legislative errors that may have occurred during the law-making process.
  • To encourage more comprehensive deliberation and revision of bills within the State Legislature.

The Governor of State is vested with three types of Veto Power:

  • Absolute Veto,
  • Suspensive Veto, and
  • Pocket Veto.

The three types of Veto Power of the Governor of State are discussed in detail in the sections that follow.

  • The Absolute Veto refers to the power of the Governor to withhold his assent to a bill passed by the State Legislature. In this case, the bill ends and does not become an Act.
  • The Absolute Veto is exercised in the following two cases-
    • in the case of a Private Member’s Bill (i.e. a bill introduced by any member of the State Legislature who is not a minister.)
    • in the case of a Government Bill when the Cabinet, that got the bill passed, resigns, and the new Cabinet advises the Governor not to give his assent to the bill.
  • The Suspensive Veto refers to the power of the Governor to return a bill for reconsideration by the State Legislature.
    • If the bill is passed again by State Legislature with or without amendments and again presented to the Governor, it is obligatory for the Governor to give his assent to the bill.
    • In other words, the Governor’s veto is overridden by the re-passage of the bill by the same ordinary majority, and not a higher majority as required in the USA.
  • It is to be noted that the Suspensive veto is not available in the case of Money Bills.
    • The Governor has to either give his assent or withhold his assent to a Money bill, but cannot return it for the reconsideration of the State Legislature.
    • Normally, the Governor gives his assent to a Money bill as it is introduced in the State Legislature with the previous permission of the Governor.
  • The Pocket Veto refers to the power of the Governor to neither ratify nor reject nor return the bill but simply keep the bill pending for an indefinite period.
  • The Constitution of India does not prescribe any time limit within which the Governor of State has to make the decision w.r.t. a bill presented to him/her for his/her assent.
  • As per Article 200 of the Indian Constitution, when a bill is passed by a State Legislature, it is presented to the Governor for his assent, he has four alternatives before him:
    • First – To give his assent to the bill,
    • Second – To withhold his assent to the bill,
    • Third – To return the bill (if it is not a money bill) for reconsideration of the State Legislature,
    • Fourth – To reserve the bill for the consideration of the President.
  • If the Governor chooses a fourth alternative, that is, if a bill passed by a State Legislature has been reserved by the Governor for the consideration of the President, the bill can become an act only if it receives the assent of the President. Thus, the President has been given veto power w.r.t. State Legislation as well.
  • As per Article 201 of the Indian Constitution, when a bill is reserved by the Governor for consideration by the President, the President has three alternatives before him:
    • First – To give his assent to the bill,
      • Once, the President has given his/her assent to the bill, it becomes an Act. This means that the assent of the Governor is no longer required for the bill.
    • Second – To withhold his assent to the bill,
      • This gives the President the power of Absolute Veto over the State Legislation.
    • Third – To direct the Governor to return the bill (if it is not a Money Bill) for reconsideration by the State Legislature,
      • This gives the President the power of Suspensive Veto over the State Legislation.
      • In this case, if the bill is passed again by the State Legislature with or without amendments and presented again to the President, the President is not bound to give his/her assent to the bill.
      • Thus, the State Legislature cannot override the Veto Power of the President.

The Indian Constitution has not prescribed any time limit within which the President has to make a decision with respect to a bill reserved by the Governor for his consideration. Thus, the President can exercise a Pocket Veto in respect of State Legislation as well.

Read our detailed article on the Veto Power of President of India.

PresidentGovernor
With Regard To Ordinary Bills
Can be ratified.Can be ratified.
Can be rejected (Absolute Veto)Can be rejected (Absolute Veto)
Can be returned (Suspensive Veto)Can be returned (Suspensive Veto)
Can be kept pending (Pocket Veto)Can be kept pending (Pocket Veto)
With Regard To Money Bills
Can be ratifiedCan be ratified
Can be rejected (Absolute Veto)Can be rejected (Absolute Veto)
Can NOT be returned (NO Suspensive Veto w.r.t. Money Bill)Can NOT be returned (NO Suspensive Veto w.r.t. Money Bill)
Can NOT be kept pending (NO Pocket Veto w.r.t. Money Bill)Can NOT be kept pending (NO Pocket Veto w.r.t. Money Bill)
With Regard To Constitutional Amendment Bills
Can only be ratified, and can NOT be rejected or returned (NO Veto Power w.r.t. Constitutional Amendment Bill)Not Applicable as Constitutional Amendment Bills cannot be introduced in the State Legislature.

The Veto Power of the Governor of State is a significant tool for the head of the State to play a role in shaping legislation and safeguarding the Constitution. It fosters a deliberative process within the State Legislature, encourages thorough scrutiny and debate on proposed legislation, and ensures that laws passed by the State Legislature align with principles of justice, equity, and the rule of law. Thus, it underscores the importance of accountability and scrutiny in lawmaking, ultimately contributing to the strength and resilience of India’s democratic institutions.

Who can remove the Governor of a State from office?

The President of India can remove the Governor of the State from his/her office.

Who has Veto Power in the State?

The Governor has the Veto Power in the State.


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