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Role of Governor in India

Role of Governor in India

The Governor’s appointment, his powers and everything related to the office of Governor is mention under Article 153 to Article 162 of the Indian Constitution.

The role of the Governor is quite similar to that of the President of India. The Governor performs the same duties as of President, but for the State. Governor stands as executive head of a State and the working remains the same as of the office of President of India. Under the Constitution of India, the governing machinery is the same as that of the Central Government.

  • It states that the Governor has a dual role.
    • He is the constitutional head of the state, bound by the advice of his council of ministers.
    • He functions as a vital link between the Union Government and the State Government.

Appointment of Governor

  • “Neither the people directly elect the Governor nor does a specially constituted electoral college indirectly elect the Governor, as is the case with the President.”
  • He is appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal. He is a nominee of the Central government.
  • Supreme Court in 1979, held that the office of Governor of a state is not an employment under the Central government. It is an independent constitutional office and is not under the control of or subordinate to the Central government.
  • The Draft Constitution provided for the direct election of the Governor on the basis of universal adult suffrage. However, Constituent Assembly opted for the present system of appointment of Governor by the President.
Role of Governor in India

Powers of Governor

The State’s Governor will have legislative, financial, judicial and executive powers. However, he does not have the diplomatic, military, or emergency powers that India’s President possesses.

Executive Powers of Governor

  • ExecutivePowers:
    • Council of ministers exercises executive powers in the Governor’s name.
    • Governor is ceremonial; real executive power lies with the Council of Ministers.
  • Appointments:
    • Governor appoints Advocate General, Chief Minister, and state ministers based on Chief Minister’s advice.
  • Constitutional Emergency:
    • Governor can recommend state’s constitutional emergency to the President.
  • Agent of the President:
    • Governor holds executive authority as the President’s agent during his administration in a state.

Legislative Powers

  • The Governor’s Power Division:
    • Writ of bills and respect to the legislature are two subcategories of the Governor’s power.
  • Assent to Bills:
    • When a non-money bill is presented to the Governor, he can consent, withhold, or return it to the Houses.
    • If the bill is passed again with or without changes, he must assent or reserve it for President’s consideration.
  • Money Measures:
    • Money bills cannot be sent back for reconsideration by the Governor.
    • Normally introduced with the Governor’s prior approval.
  • President’s Consent:
    • If a money bill requires the President’s consent, he must decide to give or withhold his assent.

Financial Powers

  • He/she causes the annual budget to be laid before the State Legislative Assembly.
  • No money bill can be introduced in the State Legislative Assembly without the Governor’s prior approval.

Judicial Powers

When appointing justices to the State High Court, the President talks with the Governor of the State in question. He possesses the pardoning powers listed below for any offences within the scope of state power.

  • Pardon entails fully absolving the culprit.
  • Stay on the execution of the sentence if you get a reprieve.
  • In some exceptional circumstances, a lower punishment may be granted as a form of respite.
  • Remission refers to a decrease in the length of a sentence without affecting the offender’s character.
  • Commutation is the process of replacing one form with another.

Discretionary Powers

The Constitution makes it plain that if there is any debate about whether a matter is within the Governor’s discretionary powers, the Governor’s judgement is final. Nothing he does may be questioned since he acted at his discretion.

  • Abuse of Power by the Centre: There have been numerous instances of the Governor’s position being abused, usually at the request of the Centre’s ruling party. The procedure of appointment has been the root of the problem in most cases.
  • Biased Ideology: The central government has appointed politicians and former bureaucrats who identify with a particular political ideology as Governors in several cases. It is contrary to the constitutionally mandated neutral seat and appears to have resulted in bias, as seen in Karnataka and Goa.
  • Puppet Rulers: The Governor of Rajasthan has recently been charged for breaking the model code of conduct. His support for the ruling party goes against the ethos of non-partisanship that is demanded of those in positions of power under the Constitution. As a result of these instances, derogatory labels such as “agent of the Centre,” “puppet,” and “rubber stamps” are used to criticize state governors.
  • Favoring a Particular Political Party: The governor’s discretionary powers to ask the leader of the largest party/alliance to form the government after an election have frequently been abused to favor one political party over another.
  • Misuse of Power: A Governor’s request for President’s Rule (Article 356) in a state has not always been based on ‘objective material,’ but rather on political whim or fancy.
Role of Governor in India

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

Governor vis-i-vis State Relations:

While envisioning the Governor as an apolitical head required to act upon the advice of the Council of Ministers, the constitution does not establish provisions for how the Governor and the state should publicly engage when differences of opinion arise.

In recent years, there have been many instances between the Governor and State Governments largely about the selection of the party to form a government, deadline for proving majority, sitting on Bills, and passing negative remarks on the state administration 

For Example:

  • In West Bengal, the Governor has often commented on law and order and political violence.
  • In December 2020, Kerala Governor turned down a request to summon a special sitting of the Assembly to debate the three central farm laws.

Reasons for Conflict between Governor and State Government:

  • There is no provision for impeaching the Governor, who is appointed by the President on the Centre’s advice. While the Governor has a 5-year tenure, he can remain in office only until the pleasure of the President.
  • In the Constitution, there are no guidelines for the exercise of the Governor’s powers, including for appointing a CM or dissolving the Assembly.
  • There is no limit set for how long a Governor can withhold assent to a Bill.
  • Since the Governor is appointed by the President and holds office only until the pleasure of the President. Therefore, his position is perceived as an ‘agent of Centre’.

Way Forward:

  • From the Administrative Reforms Commission of 1968 to the Sarkaria Commission of 1988, several panels have recommended reforms, such as selection of the Governor through a panel comprising the PM, Home Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker and the CM, apart from fixing his tenure for five years.
  • A code of conduct should be outlined that guides the exercise of the Governor’s ‘discretion’ and his powers which he is entitled to use and exercise on his judgment.
  • There is a need to strengthen the federal setup (such as inter-state council) in India to check misuse of the office of Governor.

Role of Governor in India, Role of Governor in India, Role of Governor in India

Read Also: Zonal Councils in India

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