India is a union of 29 States and 7 Union Territories. At the State level, following the central pattern, the Governor, like the President, acts as a nominal head and the real powers are exercised by the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister.
According to the Constitution of India, there has to be a Governor for each State. If need
be, one person may be appointed Governor for even two or more States. The executive
authority of every State is vested in the Governor of the state.
The Governor : Appointment, Qualifications, Tenure etc.
The Governor of a State is appointed by the President of India. There is no bar on reappointment of a Governor either in the same State or in different States. This shows that the Governor is not elected but is appointed. In order to become a Governor a person must have following qualifications:
1. He/she must be a citizen of India;
2. He/she should be at least 35 years; and
3. He/she cannot hold any office of profit during his tenure.
However, if a person is a member of either House of the Parliament or the Legislature of
any State or a member of the Council of Ministers at the National or the State level and is
appointed as Governor, he/she ceases to be a member of the Legislature or the Council of
The Governor is appointed for a term of five years and is entitled to a rent-free residence which is called Raj Bhawan. His/her emoluments, allowances and privileges are specified by the law. However, the emoluments and allowances of the Governor cannot be reduced during his tenure.
The Governor: Powers, Position and Role
The powers and functions of the Governor can broadly be categorised under two heads
namely (a) as the head of the State, and (b) as the representative of the Union Government.
- (A) Executive Powers
All the executive functions in the State are carried on in the name of the Governor. He/she not only appoints the Chief Minister but on his/her advice appoints the members of the
Council of Ministers. On the advice of the Chief Minister he/she allocates portfolios among the ministers.
He/she appoints the Advocate- General and Chairman and members of the State Public
He/she has the power to appoint judges of the courts, other than the High Court. He/she,
however, is consulted when the judges of the State High Court are appointed by the
President of India.
While discharging all his/her functions as Head of the Executive in the State, the Governors
like the President, is aided and advised by the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief
- (B) Legislative Powers
The Governor has the right to summon and prorogue the State Legislature. He/she can, on
the recommendation of the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Ministers dissolve
the State Legislative Assembly.
He/She can address the session of the State Legislative Assembly or Joint Session of the
two Houses of the Legislature. He can send messages to either or both Houses.
He/She can nominate one member of the Anglo Indian Community to the State Legislative
Assembly, if he/she is satisfied that after General Elections, the said community is not
adequately represented in the Assembly. He/she nominates one-sixth members of the total strength of the Legislative Council if the
same is existing in a State. Such nominated members are those who possess special
knowledge in the field of literature, science, cooperative movement and social service.
The assent of the Governor is necessary for a bill to become a law. In this regard, the
Governor has the following options :
(a) He/she may give assent to the bill; in that case the bill becomes a law;
(b) He/she may withhold the assent; in which case the bill fails to become a law;
(c) He/she may return the bill with his message. If the State Legislature passes the bill in
its original shape or in a modified form, the Governor has to give the assent to the bill;
(d) He/she may reserve the bill for the consideration of the President.
The Governor has the power to issue ordinances during the period when the State Legislature
is not in session. However, the ordinance has to be placed before the State Legislature
when it reassembles for the next session. It ceases to operate after six weeks, unless
earlier rejected by the Legislature. The Legislative Assembly may replace the ordinance
by a law enacted by it within the said period.
- (C) Financial Powers
No money bill can be introduced in the State Legislative Assembly without the prior
permission of the Governor.
2. The annual and supplementary budgets are introduced in the Assembly in the name
of the Governor.
3. The Governor has the control over the State Contingency Fund.
- (D) Power of Pardon
The Governor possesses the power to grant pardon reprieves, respites or remission of
punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted by the
Courts of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power
of the State extends.
- (E) Discretionary Powers
It is only under special circumstances that the Governor may act without the advice of the Council of Ministers. In other words, such powers of the Governor are exercised in his/her own discretion. They
A situation may arise when in the opinion of the Governor there is the breakdown of
the constitutional machinery in the State. In such a case, the Governor may report the
situation to the President for imposition of the President’s Rule in that State. During such emergency, the Governor rules on behalf of the President.
- A situation may also arise when the Governor may reserve a bill for the consideration
of the President. As the Governor does or can do this job on his own, it again is one of
his discretionary powers.
THE CHIEF MINISTER
Chief Minister is the head of the government in the State. The Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister as its head exercises real authority at the State level.
Formation of the Council of Ministers
The Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor. The person who commands the
majority support in the State Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) is appointed as
the Chief Minister by the Governor. The other Ministers are appointed by the Governor
on the advice of the Chief Minister.
The ministers included in the Council of Minister’s
must belong to either House of the State legislature. A person who is not a member of
the State legislature may be appointed a minister, but he/she ceases to hold office if
he/she is not elected to the State legislature within six months of his appointment.
The portfolios to the members of the Council of Ministers are allocated by the Governor
on the advice of the Chief Minister.
Functions of the Chief Minister:
Chief Minister is the head of the Council of Ministers of his State. The constitutional
position of the Chief Minister is more or less similar to that of the Prime Minister.
- Chief Minister is the real head of the State Government. Ministers are appointed by
the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister. The Governor allocates portfolios
to the ministers on the advice of the Chief Minister.
- Chief Minister presides over the Cabinet meetings. He/she coordinates the functioning
of different ministries. He/she guides the functioning of the Cabinet.
- Chief Minister plays a key role in framing the laws and policies of the State
Government. Bills are introduced by the ministers in the State legislature with his/her
approval. He/she is the chief spokesman of the policies of his government both inside
and outside the State Legislature.
- The Constitution provides that the Chief Minister shall communicate to the Governor
all decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to the administration and the affairs
of the State and proposals for legislation.
- The Chief Minister furnishes such information relating to the administration of the
affairs of the State and proposals for legislation as the Governor may call for.
- If the Governor so requires, the Chief Minister submits for consideration of the Council
of Ministers any matter on which a decision has been taken by a minister but which
has not been considered by the Cabinet.
- The Chief Minister is the sole link of communication between the Cabinet and the
Governor. The Governor has the right to be informed by the Chief Minister about the
decisions taken by the Council of Ministers.