Governors of States

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    Recently, the Union Government has transferred or appointed Governors of eight States.

    About Governor

    • He/she is the Chief Executive Head of a State.
      • Like the President of India, he is a nominal (titular or constitutional) head and also acts as an agent of the central government. Therefore, the office of governor has a dual role.
    • Articles 153 to 167 in Part VI of the Constitution deal with the State Executive, which comprises the Governor, the Chief Minister, the Council of Ministers and the Advocate General of the State.
      • There is no office of Vice-Governor (in the state) like that of Vice-President at the Centre.
      • Usually, there is a governor for each state, however, the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1956 facilitated the appointment of the same person as a governor for two or more states.
    • Appointment
      • The Governor is neither directly elected by the people nor indirectly elected by a specially constituted electoral college as is the case with the President.
      • He/she is appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.
        • As held by the Supreme Court in 1979, it is an independent constitutional office and is not under the control of or subordinate to the Central government.
      • While drafting the Constitution, the Canadian model of Governor’ appointment by the Centre was accepted in the Constituent Assembly.
    • Oath
      • The Governor has to make and subscribe to an oath or affirmation, which is administered by the Chief Justice of the concerned State’s High Court and in his/her absence, the senior-most judge of that court available.
    • Qualifications
      • The Constitution lays down only two qualifications for the appointment of a person as a governor.
        • He/she should be a citizen of India.
        • He/she should have completed the age of 35 years.
      • Additionally, two conventions have also developed in this regard over the years. 
        • He/she should be an outsider, meaning not belonging to the State of appointment so as to remain free from the local politics.
        • While appointing the Governor, the President is required to consult the Chief Minister of the State concerned, so that the smooth functioning of the constitutional machinery is ensured.
    • Conditions
      • Should not be a member of either House of Parliament or a House of the state legislature. If any such person is appointed as governor, he/she is deemed to have vacated his/her seat in that House on the date on which he/she enters upon the office as the Governor.
      • Should not hold any other office of profit.
      • Entitled without payment of rent to the use of official residence (the Raj Bhavan).
      • Entitled to such emoluments, allowances and privileges as may be determined by Parliament.
      • When the same person is appointed as the governor of two or more states, the emoluments and allowances payable to him are shared by the states in such proportion as determined by the President.
      • Emoluments and allowances cannot be diminished during his term of office.
      • During the term of office, he/she is immune from any criminal proceedings, even in respect of personal acts and cannot be arrested or imprisoned.
        • However, after giving two months’ notice, civil proceedings can be instituted against during the term of office in respect of his personal acts.
    • Tenure
      • A Governor holds office for a term of five years from the date on which he/she enters upon the office.
      • However, this term of five years is subject to the pleasure of the President.
        • However, the Constitution does not lay down any grounds upon which a Governor may be removed by the President.
        • The Supreme Court in 2010 held that the Governors 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.
      • Further, he/she can resign at any time by addressing a resignation letter to the President.
      • The President may transfer a Governor appointed to one state to another state for the rest of the term. Further, a Governor whose term has expired may be reappointed in the same State or any other State.
    • Functions and Powers
      • Executive Powers
        • All executive actions of the State Government are formally taken in his/her name.
        • Can make rules for more convenient transactions of the business of a State government.
        • Appoints the Chief Minister and other ministers and Advocate General who hold office during his/her pleasure.
        • Appoints the State Election Commissioner (SEC). However, the SEC can be removed only in like manner and on the like grounds as a judge of a high court.
        • Appoints the Chairman and members of the State Public Service Commission, who can be removed only by the President and not by a Governor.
        • Can recommend the imposition of 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.
        • Acts as the Chancellor of universities in the State and appoints the Vice-Chancellors (VCs).
      • Legislative Powers
        • Can summon or prorogue the State Legislature and dissolve the State Legislative Assembly.
        • Can address the State Legislature at the commencement of the first session after each general election and the first session of each year.
        • 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 and has similar powers with respect to the State Legislature Council.
        • 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.
        • Can nominate one member to the State Legislature Assembly from the Anglo-Indian Community.
        • Decides on the question of disqualification of members of the State Legislature in consultation with the Election Commission.
        • When a bill is sent to the governor after it is passed by the State Legislature, he/she can give assent to the bill or withhold assent to the bill or return the bill (if it is not a money bill) for reconsideration.
          • However, if the bill is passed again with or without amendments, the Governor has to give assent to the bill or reserve it for the consideration of the President.
          • Such reservation is obligatory if the bill passed endangers the position of the state high court, is against the provisions of the Constitution, opposes Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP), is against the larger interest of the country, of grave national importance or deals with compulsory acquisition of property
        • Can promulgate ordinances when the State Legislature is not in session and can also withdraw an ordinance anytime. This is the most important legislative power of the Governor.
        • 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.
      • Financial Powers
        • 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 his/her prior recommendation.
        • No demand for a grant can be made except on his/her recommendation.
        • Can make advances out of the Contingency Fund of the State to meet any unforeseen expenditure.
        • Constitutes a Finance Commission after every five years to review the financial position of the panchayats and the municipalities.
      • Judicial Powers
        • 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.
          • Though the Governor has the power to pardon, he/she cannot pardon a death sentence.
        • He/she is consulted by the President while appointing the judges of the concerned State High Court.
        • Makes appointments, postings and promotions of the district judges in consultation with the State High Court and appoints persons to the Judicial Service of the State.
      • The Governor has no diplomatic, military or emergency powers like the President.

    Related Constitutional Articles

    • Article 153: Governors of states
    • Article 154: Executive power of state
    • Article 155: Appointment of Governor
    • Article 156: Term of office of Governor
    • Article 157: Qualifications for appointment as Governor
    • Article 158: Conditions of Governor’s office
    • Article 159: Oath or affirmation by the Governor
    • Article 160: Discharge of the functions of the Governor in certain contingencies
    • Article 161: Power of the Governor to grant pardons and others
    • Article 162: Extent of executive power of state
    • Article 163: Council of ministers to aid and advise the Governor

    Source: IE