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Roles And Responsibilities Of A Governor Of The State

The Power Of Governor Under Indian Constitution

The Indian constitution through its Article 154 vests the Governor with executive powers of the state. Article 153 puts forward the provision for each state to have a Governor and shall be appointed by the President, by the powers vested in him by Article 155, by a warrant under his hand and sealed for all twenty-eight states.

The Governor is responsible of safeguarding the constitution and law, as well as ensuring smooth working and management of the state. The Governor's powers, other than the executive powers of appointing key state officials, are highly nominal and are most certainly exercised on the advice of the Chief Minister.

Appointment and Eligibility of the Governor

Each State Governor is appointed by the President of India, by the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1956 under Article 153, the same person is eligible to be appointed as a Governor for two or more states and is entitled to receive such privileges as determined by the parliament.

A person in order to be eligible for his appointment as the Governor of a state shall be a citizen of India, should have attained the age of thirty-five, shall not be a member of either house of Parliament or house of the state legislature and shall not hold any office of profit. Every Person who is appointed as a Governor shall take an oath, swearing to the faithful execution of the Governor's Office, in the presence of the Chief Justice of High Court of that Jurisdiction or in his absence, the senior most Judge of that High Court.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Governor

The Governor of a state acts as the constitutional head whose one of the responsibilities is to appoint the Chief Minister of the state under Article 164 and other officials on the advice of the Chief Minister. The Governor is the top executive official who exercises various executive, legislative, financial as well as judicial powers, but these powers cannot be exercised by him on his sole discretion.

In the case of Shamsher Singh & Anr vs State of Punjab1 a Supreme Court constitutional bench comprising of 7 Judges observed a that the President and Governor are the Constitutional heads of the government like the Crown of England, they are the custodians of all executive, legislative, judicial and financial powers, they shall strictly act upon the advice of their Ministers except under extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances.

Another observation was made by the Supreme Court in the case of U.N.R. RAO vs Indira Gandhi2, where the SC held that the position of a President or a Governor is purely formal position i.e., a mere title without any pure authority and the real power vests in the council of ministers.

Executive Powers of the Governor

The executive powers of the governor are the powers which are exercised by the governor on the advice of the council of ministers. Here the board of Ministers is the true executive who exercises its powers in the name of Governor under Article 166.

Under Article 164 the Governor appoints the Chief Minister and the following state officials on the advice of the Chief Minister:

  • Advocate General
  • The State Election Commissioner
  • The Lokayukta and the Upa Lokayukta
  • The Chairman and members of Public Service Commission as well as Human Rights Commission
  • The State Chief and Members of the State Information Commission

Legislative Powers of the Governor

Under Article 200, whenever a bill has been passed by the legislative assembly of a state, such bill shall be presented to the Governor and the Governor shall declare his decision as to his assent or his withholding of assent for the passing of the bill or his decision to reserve the bill for the consideration by the President.

The governor after receiving the bill (other than a money bill) shall as soon as possible return the bill, accompanied with a request to reconsider the bill or any specific provision therein, to the houses. If the Legislative assembly passes the bill again with or without any amendment as required by the Governor, the Governor shall not withhold his assent to such bill except where the Governor believes that such bill if became law, will derogate the powers of High Court, where the Governor is of such belief he shall not assent to the bill and reserve it for the consideration of the President.

Recently in the case of State of Telangana v. Secy To Her Excellency The Hon'ble Governor For The State of Telangana3 the SC observed that the expression "as soon as possible" in Article 200 is a mandate which has a significant constitutional object and shall be respected in all aspects. In this case the SC also observed that the Governor is a merely a nominal authority, under Article 154 it is clearly stated that the governor can only exercise the executive powers on the advice of Board of ministers and hence he has no such veto powers.

The Governor also has a right under Article 175 and Article 192 to address, summon, discontinue or dissolve the legislative assembly in case he loses confidence but such right is formal and shall only be exercised in compliance with the advice of the chief minister and board of ministers.

Financial Powers of the Governor

The governor has the power Article 202 to cause an estimated annual financial statement to be laid before the state legislature. Any estimates related to other expenditure shall be made in the form of demands for grants on the recommendation of the Governor under Article 203.

A money bill making provisions under Article 199(1) shall not be moved without the recommendation of the governor as stater under Article 207 and any bill enacted which involves expenditure from consolidated funds of a state shall not be passed unless it is recommended by the governor for consideration to that house.

Under Article 243I the Governor has the responsibility to appoint a Finance commission after expiration of every 5 years, to review the financial position of panchayats and municipalities and to make necessary recommendations to the Governor.

Under Article 200 the Governor has been indirectly given the power to withhold his assent on a money bill where he does not have confidence. Under Article 361 the Governor has immunity from any court proceedings when he is acting within his powers but in the case of Rameshwar Prasad and Ors. vs Union Of India and Anr 4 the SC settled this point by observing that if the grounds for withholding an assent are found to be malafide or ultravires, the Governor's decision can be struck down as invalid and unconstitutional. The court further cleared that the immunity granted under Article 361(1) does not deprive the court with its power to examine the action on the ground of malafide or extraneous consideration.

Judicial Powers of the Governor

Under Article 217 it is stated that each Judge of the High Court shall be Appointed by the President after consulting with the Chief Justice of India as well as the Governor of the respective State.

In Conclusion the governor of a state acts as a constitutional head as well as a chief executive head and has various roles and responsibilities. Though, his powers may not be purely executive but he exercises a crucial role in smooth functioning of the management of the state. The governor's powers are highly ceremonial in nature but he has a few discretionary powers like withholding assent to a bill of state legislative assembly or determining timelines for parties to prove their majority at the time of elections. The governor holds office for a tenure of 5 years during the pleasure of the president and until his successor takes over.

  1. Official Website of Governor's Secretariat, Raj Bhavan Lucknow Uttar Pradesh, India. / The Governor / Constitutional Role of Governor. (n.d.). Official Website of Governor's Secretariat, Raj Bhavan Lucknow Uttar Pradesh, India. / the Governor / Constitutional Role of Governor.
  2. Raj Bhavan. (n.d.). Raj Bhavan.
  3. Roles and Powers of Governor. (2022, October 31). Drishti IAS.
  4. Indulia, B., S., E., & Bhardwaj, P. (2020, November 3). Madras HC | "Framers trusted Constitutional Appointees to perform duties promptly"; Court invokes Art. 200 while enouncing Governor's responsibility of taking early decision when a Bill is presented for assent | SCC Blog. SCC Blog.
  5. A. (n.d.). The Constitutional Role of a Governor.
  6. Sharma, P. (2023, April 11). Telangana Governor Gives Assent To 3 Bills; Refers 2 To President; 3 Under Active Consideration: Statement Before Supreme Court. Telangana.
  1. AIR 1974 S C 2192
  2. 1971 AIR 1002
  3. Writ Petition(s)(Civil) No(s). 333/2023 4 AIR 2006 SC 980
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