State Executive : Powers and functions of Governor

The Governor is the head of the state executive. He is also the representative of the Centre in  the  state.  The Governor acts as the nominal head whereas the real power lies in the hand of the  Chief Ministers of the states and the Chief Minister’s Council of Ministers.

Article 153 of the Constitution states that there shall be a Governor for each State.  One person can be appointed as Governor for two or more States. Article 154 vests the executive power of the State in the Governor.  Article 155 says that “The Governor of a State shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal”.  Article 156 provides that “The Governor shall hold office during the pleasure of the President”.  The term of the Governor is prescribed as five years.   The only qualifications for appointment as Governor are that he should be a citizen of India and must have completed the age of thirty-five years.

The powers of the Governor can be categorized as

(i) Executive powers:-Governor is the head of the State executive and The executive power of the State shall be vested in the Governor and shall be exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with this Constitution.Governor appoints the Chief Minister of the State. Other ministers are also appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister. The ministers including the Chief Minister hold office during the pleasure of the Governor.

(ii) Legislative powers:- Governor  has the right of addressing and sending messages, summoning, deferring and dissolving the State Legislature. The Governor inaugurates the state legislature and the first session of each year, by addressing the Assembly, outlining the new administrative policies of the ruling government.The Governor lays before the State Legislature, the annual financial statement and also makes demands for grants and recommendation of ‘Money Bills’.The Governor constitutes the State Finance Commission. He also holds the power to make advances out of the Contingency Fund of the State in the case of any unforeseen circumstances.All bills passed by the Legislative Assembly become a law, only after the Governor approves them. In case it is not a money bill, the Governor holds the right to send it back to the Vidhan Sabha for reconsideration. But if the Vidhan Sabha sends back the Bill to the Governor the second time, then he has to sign it.The  Governor  has  the  power  to  reserve  certain  bills  for  the President. The Governor has the power to promulgate an ordinance when the Legislative Assembly is not in session, and a law has to be brought into effect immediately. However, the ordinance is presented in the state legislature in the next session, and remains operative for a total of six weeks, unless it is approved by the legislature.


(iii) Financial powers:-Money bills in the State legislature cannot be introduced without prior recommendation of the Governor.  Governor ensures that the Budget of the state is laid before the assembly every year. The “Contingency Fund of the state” is maintained and administered by the Governor of the state. Governor can advance money out of it for meeting unforeseen expenditures, but the money has to be recuperated with the authority of the state legislature. The Governor of the state receives the report of the States auditor general pertaining to the accounts of the legislature and puts it before the state legislature.

(iv) Judicial powers:-Under Article.161, Governor has the power to grant pardon, reprieve or remission of punishment or to  suspend,  remit or  commute  the  sentences  of  any  person,  convicted  of  any  offence against any law relating to the matter which the executive authority of the state extends.

(v) discretionary powers:-When no party gets a majority in the Legislative Assembly, the Governor can either ask the leader of the single largest party or the consensus leader of two or more parties (that is, a coalition party) to form the government. The Governor then appoints the leader of the largest party as Chief Minister.

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