Governor of India UPSC

Governors of India

Role of Governor

The Indian Constitution envisions a parliamentary system of administration in the states, similar to that of the country as a whole. The government of the states is dealt with under Part VI of the Constitution.

Part VI of the Constitution deals with the state executive in Articles 153 through 167. The governor, the chief minister, the council of ministers, and the state’s attorney general make up the state executive. As a result, there is no vice-governor (in the state) equivalent to the Vice-President at the federal level.

The governor is the state’s chief executive officer. He is, nevertheless, a nominal executive head (titular or constitutional head) like the president. In addition, the governor serves as a representative of the federal government. As a result, the governor’s office serves a dual purpose.

Normally, each state has its own governor, but the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1956 made it easier to appoint the same individual to serve as governor of two or more states.

Governor’s appointment

Unlike the president, the governor is neither directly elected by the people nor indirectly elected by a specially formed electoral college. He is appointed by the president by a warrant signed and sealed by him. In certain ways, he is a central government nominee. The post of governor of a state, however, is not a federal government job, as the Supreme Court ruled in 1979. It is a constitutionally independent office that is neither controlled by or subordinate to the federal government.

The governor was to be elected directly by universal adult suffrage, according to the Draft Constitution. However, the Constituent Assembly chose the current system of president-appointed governors for the following reasons:
1. The governor is directly elected, which is incompatible with the states’ legislative system.
2. The governor and the chief minister are more likely to clash if the governor is elected directly.
3. Because the governor is simply a constitutional (nominal) head, making complex procedures for his election and spending a large sum of money is pointless.
4. A governor would be elected only on the basis of personal issues. As a result, including a significant number of voters in such an election is not in the national interest.
5. An elected governor would be a member of a political party and hence would not be a neutral and impartial leader.
6. The election of a governor would stoke separatist sentiments, jeopardizing the country’s political stability and unity.
7. The presidential nomination system allows the Centre to keep control of the states.
8. The governor’s direct election poses a severe leadership challenge in the state during a general election.
9. The governorship is something the chief minister wants his nominee to run for. As a result, the governorship is given to a second-rate member of the ruling party.

As a result, the American model, in which the governor of a state is directly elected, was rejected by the Constituent Assembly, while the Canadian model, in which the governor of a province (state) is appointed by the Governor-General (Centre), was accepted.

Only two criteria are specified in the Constitution for governorship appointments. These are the following:
1. He must be an Indian citizen.
2. He ought to have reached the age of 35.

In addition, over the years, two conventions have emerged in this regard. To begin, he should be an outsider, meaning that he should not be a resident of the state where he is chosen, in order to be free of local politics. Second, while appointing the governor, the president must consult with the chief minister of the state in question to ensure that the state’s constitutional machinery runs smoothly. Both conventions, however, have been broken in various instances.

 Conditions of Governor’s Office 
The governor’s office must meet the following requirements, according to the Constitution:
1. He should not be a member of either the House of Commons or the House of States. If one of these people is appointed governor, he is regarded to have vacated his position in that House on the date he takes office as governor.
2. He should not hold any other profit-generating position.
3. He has the right to use his official dwelling (the Raj Bhavan) without paying rent.
4. He is entitled to the emoluments, allowances, and privileges that Parliament may determine.
5. When the same person is appointed as governor of two or more states, the states share the emoluments and allowances payable to him in the proportions established by the president.
6. During his time of office, his emoluments and allowances cannot be reduced.

The governor’s pay was enhanced by the Parliament in 2018 from Rs.1.10 lakh to Rs.3.50 lakh per month.

The governor, like the President, is entitled to a number of privileges and immunities. For his official acts, he is personally immune from legal accountability. He is exempt from criminal prosecution during his tenure of office, including for his personal activities. He is not subject to arrest or imprisonment. Civil proceedings in respect of his personal acts can be brought against him during his term of office after giving two months’ notice.

Before taking office, the governor must take an oath or affirmation and subscribe to it. The governor vows to (a) faithfully perform his office; (b) preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and the law; and (c) devote himself to the service and well-being of the people of the state in his oath.

The chief justice of the respective state high court administers the oath of office to the governor, or in his absence, the senior-most judge of that court available.

Every person who performs the duties of the governor takes the same oath or affirmation.

 Term of Governor’s Office 
A governor is elected for a five-year term beginning on the day he is sworn into office. This five-year tenure, however, is contingent on the President’s approval. He can also resign at any time by writing to the President with a resignation letter.

The President’s pleasure is not legitimate, according to the Supreme Court. The governor does not have a definite term of office or a secure tenure. The President has the authority to remove him at any time.

The President may dismiss a governor for any reason, although the Constitution does not specify what those reasons are. As a result, the National Front government of V.P. Singh (1989) asked all governors to resign, despite the fact that they had been nominated by the Congress government. Some governors were eventually replaced, while others were allowed to continue. The similar event happened in 1991, when the Congress government of P.V. Narasimha Rao replaced fourteen governors nominated by the previous governments of V.P. Singh and Chandra Sekhar.

A Governor appointed to one state may be transferred to another state for the remainder of the term by the President. A Governor who has served his or her term may be reappointed in the same or another state.

A governor can stay in office beyond his five-year term until his replacement takes over. The basic notion is that the state must have a governor and that an interregnum is not possible.

In any contingency not provided for in the Constitution, such as the death of a serving governor, the President can make whatever provisions he sees fit for the fulfillment of the governor’s tasks. As a result, the chief judge of the concerned state high court may be temporarily appointed to perform the duties of the governor.

Governor’s Powers and Functions
A governor is similar to the President of India in terms of executive, legislative, financial, and judicial authorities. He does not, however, have the president’s diplomatic, military, or emergency authorities.

The governor’s powers and functions can be explored under the following headings:
1. Executive authority.
2. Legislative authority.
3. Financial resources.
4. Judicial authority.

Executive Powers
The Governor’s executive powers and functions are as follows: 1. All executive actions of a state’s government are formally taken in his name.
2. He has the authority to create regulations governing the authentication of Orders and other instruments issued and executed in his name.
3. He can set laws to make the business of a state government run more smoothly, as well as the distribution of that business among the ministers.
4. He appoints the prime minister and other cabinet members. They also hold office while he is on vacation. In the states of Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Odisha, he should appoint a Tribal Welfare Minister. The 94th Amendment Act of 2006 exempted the state of Bihar from this provision.
5. He appoints the state’s advocate general and sets his compensation. The governor appoints the advocate general, who serves at his pleasure.
6. He appoints the state election commissioner and sets his terms of service and office duration. The state election commissioner, on the other hand, can only be removed in the same way and on the same grounds as a high court judge.
7. He appoints the state public service commission’s chairman and members. They can only be dismissed by the president, not by the governor.
8. He has the authority to ask the chief minister for any information or legislative proposals relevant to the state’s administration.
9. He has the authority to order the chief minister to submit to the council of ministers any topic on which a minister has made a decision but the council has not yet considered.

10. He has the authority to recommend to the president the imposition of a constitutional emergency in a state. As an agent of the President, the governor has significant executive powers during the President’s administration in a state.
11. He is the chancellor of the state’s universities. He also appoints vicechancellors of the state’s universities.

Legislative Powers
The governor is an important member of the legislature. He has the following legislative authorities and functions in that capacity:
1. He has the power to summon or prorogue the state legislature, as well as dissolve it.
2. He has the right to speak to the state legislature at the start of the first session following each general election, as well as the first session of each year.
3. He has the authority to convey messages to the state legislature’s house or houses, whether they are related to a measure now before the legislature or not.
4. When the Speaker and Deputy Speaker’s offices become vacant, he can designate any member of the State legislative assembly to preside over the proceedings. When the posts of Chairman and Deputy Chairman become empty, he can nominate any member of the state legislature council to preside over the proceedings.
5. He appoints one-sixth of the state legislative council members from among those with special expertise or practical experience in literature, science, art, cooperative movement, or social service.
6. He can nominate one Anglo-Indian community member to the state legislature assembly.
7. In conjunction with the Election Commission, he makes a decision on whether or not members of the state legislature should be disqualified.
8. After the state legislature passes a bill, the governor has three options: (a) give his assent to the bill, (b) withhold his assent to the bill, or (c) return the measure (assuming it is not a money bill) to the state legislature for reconsideration. If the bill is enacted by the state legislature again, with or without revisions, the governor must either offer his approval or (d) reserve the bill for the president’s consideration. In one circumstance, such a reservation is required, namely when a statute passed by the state legislature jeopardizes the state high court’s position. In addition, if the bill is of the following character, the governor may reserve it:

(I) Ultra-vires, that is, in violation of the Constitution’s requirements.
(ii) Opposed to the State Policy Directive Principles.
(iii) Against the country’s broader interests.
(iv) Of critical national significance.
(v) Dealing with Article 31A of the Constitution’s compulsory seizure of property.
When the state legislature is not in session, he can enact ordinances. The state legislature must ratify these ordinances within six weeks of its reassembly. He also has the ability to revoke an ordinance at any moment. The governor’s most important legislative power is this.
10. He presents to the state legislature the reports of the State Finance Commission, the State Public Service Commission, and the Comptroller and Auditor-General concerning the state’s accounts.

Financial Powers

The governor’s financial powers and functions are as follows:
1. He ensures that the state legislature receives the Annual Financial Statement (state budget).
2. Only with his approval may money bills be submitted in the state legislature.
3. No request for a grant can be made unless he recommends it.
4. He can borrow money from the state’s contingency fund to cover any unexpected expenses.
5. Every five years, he appoints a finance commission to examine the financial situation of the panchayats and municipalities.

Judicial Powers

The governor has the following judicial powers and functions: 1. He can grant pardons, reprives, respites, and remissions of punishment, as well as suspend, remit, and commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the state’s executive power extends.
2. When the president appoints the justices of the concerned state high court, he consults him.
3. He consults with the state high court before appointing, posting, and promoting district judges.
4. In collaboration with the state high court and the State Public Service Commission, he also appoints people to the state’s judicial service (other than district judges).

Now we’ll compare and contrast the governor’s three major abilities (veto, ordinance-making, and pardoning) with those of the President.


 Articles Related to Governor at a Glance

Article No. Subject Matter
153. Governors of states
154. Executive power of state
155. Appointment of Governor
156. Term of office of Governor
157. Qualifications for appointment as Governor
158. Conditions of Governor’s office
159. Oath or affirmation by the Governor
160. Discharge of the functions of the Governor in certain contingencies
161. Power of the Governor to grant pardons and others
162. Extent of executive power of state
163. Council of ministers to aid and advise the Governor
164. Other provisions as to ministers like appointments, term, salaries, and others
165. Advocate-General for the state
166. Conduct of business of the government of a state
167. Duties of the Chief Minister regarding furnishing of information to the Governor, and so on
174. Sessions of the state legislature, prorogation and dissolution
175. Right of the Governor to address and send messages to the house or houses of state legislature
176. Special address by the Governor
200. Assent to bills (i.e. assent of the Governor to the bills passed by the state legislature)
201. Bills reserved by the Governor for consideration of the President
213. Power of Governor to promulgate ordinances
217. Governor being consulted by the President in the matter of the appointments of the judges of the High Courts
233. Appointment of district judges by the Governor
234. Appointments of persons (other than district judges) to the judicial service of the state by the Governor.


Furthermore, the governor has specific tasks to fulfill in accordance with the President’s directives. The governor, albeit required to consult the council of ministers chaired by the chief minister, acts at his discretion in this regard. The following are the details:

  1. Maharashtra: Separate development boards for Vidarbha and Marathwada have been established.
  2. Gujarat–Separate development boards for Saurashtra and Kutch are being established.
  3. Nagaland–In terms of law and order in the state, as long as the internal unrest in the Naga Hills-TUensang Area persists.
  4. Assam–In terms of tribal administration.
  5. Manipur–In relation to the governance of the state’s hill territories.
  6. Sikkim–For the sake of peace and the social and economic growth of all segments of the society.
  7. Arunachal Pradesh–In terms of the state’s law and order.
  8. Karnataka – A separate development board for the Hyderabad-Karnataka region should be established.

As a result, the Indian federal system’s governor has a dual responsibility, according to the Constitution. He is both the state’s constitutional leader and the Centre’s representative (i.e., President).

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