[vc_section][vc_row][vc_column width=\”1/2\”][vc_column_text]Who is a Governor?

Governor is a nominal executive head of the state. He forms an important part of the state executive where he acts as the chief executive head. Central Government nominates the governor for each state.

Historical Background

  • The Governors under the Government of India Act 1935 were “by the Raj, of the Raj and for the Raj”. The constituent assembly wanted elected governors as proposed by a sub-committee of B.G. Kher, K.N. Katju and P. Subbarayan.
  • The apprehension of the clash between powers of Governor and Chief minister led to the system of appointed Governor in the state.
  • The draft constitution of 1948 was ambivalent – the drafting committee leaving it to the constituent assembly to decide whether governors should be elected or nominated.

How is a Governor Appointed?

The Indian President appoints Governor for each state by warrant under his hand and seal. Central Government is responsible to nominate the governor for each state.

  • Unlike elections of the President, there is no direct or indirect election for the post of Governor.
  • The office of a governor is not a part of the union executive and is an independent constitutional office. The governor doesn’t serve the union government and neither is subordinate to it.
  • The nomination of a governor by the Union and his appointment by the President in India is based on the Canadian model of government.

What is the term of the Governor’s office?

Since the Governor holds the office under the pleasure of the President, his office has no fixed term. President can remove the Governor and the grounds upon which he may be removed are not laid down in the constitution. Governor may also get transferred from one state to another by the President. He also can be reappointed.

An interregnum is not allowed; following which a Governor may sit in the office beyond 5 years (expiry of the term) till the new governor assumes the charge of the office. At President’s discretion, the Chief Justice of the High Court of the concerned state can also be appointed as the Governor on a temporary basis when and how the President thinks fit. (Example – On the governor’s death, Chief Justice of HC can be appointed as the governor.)

Who is qualified to become a Governor?

Unlike Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha members or even in the case of Prime Minister or President who have a set of qualifications to meet to hold the office; Governor has to meet only two qualifications:

  • He should be an Indian Citizen
  • He should be 35 years old or more

There are two conventions that the government follows before nominating a person as a Governor:

  • That person is not appointed as the governor who belongs to the state. He shall be an outsider having no relation with the state he is being appointed to.
  • Consultation of the Chief Minister is taken by the President before appointing a governor

What are the conditions of his office?

  • He cannot be a member of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. If he has been a member of either of the house, he should vacate the seat on his first day as Governor in the office.
  • He should not hold any office of profit.
  • For his residence, Raj Bhavan is provided to him without the payment of rent.
  • Parliament decides his emoluments, allowances, and privileges.
  • When a governor is responsible for two or more states, the emoluments and allowances payable to him are shared by the states in such proportion as the President may determine.
  • Parliament cannot diminish his emoluments and allowances during his term of office.
  • He is given immunity from any criminal proceedings, even in respect of his personal acts
  • Arrest or imprisonment of the Governor cannot take place. Only civil proceedings can be initiated for his personal acts that too after giving two months’ of prior notice.

What are the powers and functions of the Governor?

Executive Powers of the Governor

  • Every executive action that the state government takes, is to be taken in his name.
  • How an order that has been taken up his name is to be authenticated, the rules for the same can be specified by the Governor.
  • He may/may not make rules to simplify the transaction of the business of the state government.
  • Chief Ministers and other ministers of the states are appointed by him.
  • It is his responsibility to appoint Tribal Welfare Minister in the states of:
    • Chattisgarh
    • Jharkhand
    • Madhya Pradesh
    • Odisha
  • He appoints the advocate general of states and determines their remuneration
  • He appoints the following people:
    • State Election Commissioner
    • Chairman and Members of the State Public Service Commission
    • Vice-Chancellors of the universities in the state
  • He seeks information from the state government
  • A constitutional emergency in the state is recommended to the President by him.
  • The governor enjoys extensive executive powers as an agent of the President during the President’s rule in the state.

Legislative Powers of the Governor

  • It’s in his power to prorogue the state legislature and dissolve the state legislative assemblies
  • He addresses the state legislature at the first session of every year
  • If any bill is pending in the state legislature, Governor may/may not send a bill to the state legislature concerning the same
  • If the speaker of the legislative assembly is absent and the same is Deputy Speaker, then Governor appoints a person to preside over the session
  • As President nominates 12 members in Rajya Sabha, Governor appoints ⅙ of the total members of the legislative council from the fields of:
    • Literature
    • Science
    • Art
    • Cooperative Movement
    • Social Service
  • As President nominates 2 members in the Lok Sabha, Governor nominates 1 member in state legislative assembly from Anglo-Indian Community.
  • He can consult Election Commission for the disqualification of members
  • With respect to the bill introduced in the state legislature, he can:
    • Give his assent
    • Withhold his assent
    • Return the bill
  • Reserve the bill for the President’s consideration (In instances where the bill introduced in the state legislature endangers the position of state High Court.)

Financial Powers of the Governor

  • He looks over the state budget being laid in the state legislature
  • His recommendation is a prerequisite for the introduction of a money bill in the state legislature
  • He recommends for the demand for grants which otherwise cannot be given
  • Contingency Fund of State is under him and he makes advances out that to meet unforeseen expenditure.
  • State Finance Commission is constituted every five years by him.

Judicial Powers of the Governor

  • He has the following pardoning powers against punishment:
    • Pardon
    • Reprieve
    • Respite
    • Remit
    • Commute
  • President consults the Governor while appointing judges of High Court.
  • In consultation with the state High Court, Governor makes appointments, postings, and promotions of the district judges.
  • In consultation with the state high court and state public service commission, he also appoints persons to the judicial services.


  • There are numerous examples of the Governor’s position being abused, usually at the behest of the ruling party at the Centre. The process of appointment has generally been the cause behind it.
  • In several cases, politicians and former bureaucrats identifying with a particular political ideology have been appointed as the Governors by the Governments. This goes against the constitutionally mandated neutral seat and has resulted in bias, as appears to have happened in Karnataka and Goa.
  • Recently, the Governor of Rajasthan has been charged with the violation of the model code of conduct. His support of the ruling party is against the spirit of nonpartisanship that is expected from the person sitting on constitutional posts.
  • Due to such incidents, negative terms like an agent of the Centre, Puppet and rubber stamps are used to describe a governor of the state.
  • Governor’s discretionary powers to invite the leader of the largest party/alliance, post-election, to form the government has often been misused to favour a particular political party.
  • The Governors Committee (1971) laid down the responsibility on the governor to see that the administration of the State does not breakdown due to political instability and he must send a regular report about the political situation of the State.
  • However, the imposition of President’s rule (Article 356) in case of breakdown of constitutional machinery in a State has been frequently misused by the central government.
  • Governor’s work is bound by the aid and advice of his council of ministers, this has brought down the significance of the office to a mere rubber stamp.
  • This is reflected in TB. Pattabhi Sitaramayya (a former Governor of Madhya Pradesh) observation that he had no public function to perform except making the fortnightly report to the President.
  • The arbitrary removal of the Governor before the expiration of his tenure has also been an important issue in the recent past.
  • The Governor cannot be removed on the ground that he is out of sync with the policies and ideologies of the Union government or the party in power at the Centre. Nor can he be removed on the ground that the Union government has lost confidence in him.


S.R. Bommai Judgment

  • In S.R. Bommai case (1994), following the Sarkaria Commission’s recommendations, the Supreme Court underlined that the breakdown of constitutional machinery implied a virtual impossibility, and not a mere difficulty, in carrying out governance in a State.
  • SC said that while the subjective satisfaction of the President regarding such a breakdown was beyond judicial scrutiny, the material on which such satisfaction was based could certainly be analysed by the judiciary, including the Governor’s report.
  • The Court reinstated the governments in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand which were suspended after the arbitrary imposition of the President’s Rule.
  • The Supreme Court classified the instances of failure of constitutional machinery into four heads:
    • Political crises.
    • Internal subversion.
    • Physical breakdown.
    • Non-compliance with constitutional directions of the Union Executive.

Nabam Rebia judgment

The Supreme Court in the Nabam Rebia judgment (2016) ruled that the exercise of Governor’s discretion Article 163 is limited and his choice of action should not be arbitrary or fanciful. It must be a choice dictated by reason, actuated by good faith and tempered by caution.

Administrative Reforms Commission

The Administrative Reforms Commission (1968) recommended that the report of the governor regarding the president\’s rule has to be objective and also the governor should exercise his own judgment in this regard.

Rajamannar Committee

The Rajamannar Committee (1971) recommended the deletion of Articles 356 and 357 from the constitution of India. The necessary provisions for safeguards against arbitrary action of the ruling party at the Centre under Article 356 should be incorporated in the constitution.

The Rajamannar Committee emphasised that the governor of the state should not consider himself as an agent of the centre but play his role as the constitutional head of the State.

Sarkaria Commission

The Sarkaria Commission (1988) recommended that Article 356 should be used in very rare cases when it becomes unavoidable to restore the breakdown of constitutional machinery in the State.

The commission recommended that before taking action under Article 356, a warning should be issued to the state government that it is not functioning according to the constitution.

Justice V.Chelliah Commission

\”Justice V.Chelliah Commission\” (2002) recommended that Article 356 must be used sparingly and only as a remedy of the last resort after exhausting all actions under Articles 256, 257 and 355.

Punchhi commission

The \”Punchhi commission\” recommended that these Articles 355 & 356 be amended. It sought to protect the interests of the States by trying to curb their misuse by the Centre.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=\”1/2\” is_sticky=\”yes\” sticky_min_width=\”767\” sticky_top=\”130\” sticky_bottom=\”0\”][vc_custom_heading text=\”GOVERNOR | Discretionary Powers of Governor | TIMETEA | SHIELD IAS\” font_container=\”tag:h2|font_size:24PX|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff|line_height:34PX\” use_theme_fonts=\”yes\” css=\”.vc_custom_1668576608257{margin-top: 0px !important;margin-bottom: 0px !important;padding-top: 10px !important;padding-right: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;background-color: #434a9b !important;}\”][vc_video link=\”\” css=\”.vc_custom_1668576590094{margin-top: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}\”][/vc_column][/vc_row][/vc_section]

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