The post of Governor in India is a constitutional position and holds significant importance in the governance of a state. The Governor is the head of the state government and represents the President of India in the state.
- Appointment: The Governor is appointed by the President of India. The President exercises the power to appoint and remove Governors under Article 155 of the Indian Constitution.
- Qualifications: The Constitution doesn’t specify any specific qualifications for the post of Governor. However, the Governor must be a citizen of India and should be at least 35 years old.
- Tenure: The term of the Governor is generally five years, but the President can terminate the term at any time.
- Functions and Powers:
- Executive Powers: The Governor is the head of the state’s executive. All executive actions of the state government are taken in the Governor’s name.
- Legislative Powers: The Governor has a role in the state’s legislative process. They summon, prorogue, and dissolve the state legislative assembly, and also address it at the beginning of each new session.
- Appointments: The Governor appoints the Chief Minister and other members of the state council of ministers. They also appoint the Advocate General of the state and the State Election Commissioner.
- Bills and Ordinances: The Governor gives assent to bills passed by the state legislative assembly. If the Governor has reservations about any bill, they can reserve it for the President’s consideration.
- Emergency Powers: The Governor has certain emergency powers. If a situation arises where the state machinery breaks down, the Governor can report to the President and recommend the imposition of President’s Rule in the state.
- Dissolution of Assembly: The Governor can recommend the dissolution of the state legislative assembly if no party or coalition has a clear majority or if there’s a political deadlock.
- Role as Chancellor: In the case of state universities, the Governor serves as the Chancellor and exercises powers related to the appointment of Vice-Chancellors and other university officials.
- Constitutional Role: The Governor’s role is defined by the Indian Constitution. They are bound by the advice of the Council of Ministers in most matters, but they can use their discretion in certain situations, like the dissolution of the state assembly or in situations of constitutional crises.
- Independence and Impartiality: The Governor is expected to act independently and impartially, ensuring the welfare and development of the state.
- Relationship with Chief Minister and Council of Ministers: The Governor interacts with the Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers on matters related to the state’s administration. However, in case of a disagreement between the Governor and the state government, the Governor’s discretion prevails in specific situations.
It’s important to note that the post of Governor has faced criticism at times due to instances where it is perceived to have been politically influenced. Critics argue that Governors appointed by the central government have sometimes acted in a partisan manner, affecting the federal structure of Indian democracy.
Constitutional Articles Related to Governors Post In India
The constitutional articles related to the Governor’s post in India are primarily found in Part VI of the Indian Constitution, which deals with the State Executive. The main articles pertaining to the Governor’s role, appointment, and powers are as follows:
- Article 153: This article states that there shall be a Governor for each state in India. It establishes the office of the Governor as an essential part of the state’s executive.
- Article 155: This article deals with the appointment of the Governor. It states that the Governor shall be appointed by the President of India. The President exercises the power to appoint and remove Governors.
- Article 156: Article 156 discusses the tenure of the Governor. It states that the Governor shall hold office for a term of five years, but their term can be terminated earlier by the President.
- Article 157: This article deals with the eligibility requirements for the post of Governor. It states that the Governor must be a citizen of India and should be at least 35 years old.
- Article 158: Article 158 specifies the conditions of the Governor’s office. It mentions that the Governor shall not be a member of either House of Parliament or the state legislature. If a sitting Governor is elected as a member of either House, their office will become vacant.
- Article 159: Article 159 covers the oath or affirmation that the Governor has to take before entering upon their office. The Governor swears allegiance to the Constitution of India.
- Article 160: This article deals with the appointment of the acting Governor. It states that in case the Governor is unable to discharge their functions, the President can appoint another person as the acting Governor of the state.
- Article 161: Article 161 grants the power of pardon and reprieve to the Governor. The Governor has the authority to grant pardons, reprieves, respites, or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit, or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offense against state laws.
- Article 163: This article deals with the discretionary powers of the Governor. The Governor can exercise their individual judgment in certain matters, like the appointment of the Chief Minister when no party has a clear majority in the state legislative assembly.
- Article 164: Article 164 deals with the appointment of the Chief Minister and other ministers in the state. It specifies that the Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor, and other ministers shall be appointed on the advice of the Chief Minister.
- Article 165: This article deals with the Advocate General for the state. The Governor appoints the Advocate General, who holds the office during the Governor’s pleasure.
- Article 174: Article 174 deals with the summoning and prorogation of the state legislative assembly. The Governor summons and prorogues the assembly sessions and can dissolve the legislative assembly.
History of Post of Governor in India
The history of the post of Governor in India can be traced back to colonial times. The role of a Governor in British India was different from the post of Governor as defined in the Indian Constitution after India gained independence in 1947.
- Colonial Era: During British rule, India was divided into provinces, presidencies, and princely states. The provinces were directly governed by the British Crown, and each province had a Governor as its head. The Governor was appointed by the British government and served as the executive head of the province. The Governor exercised considerable powers and was responsible for the administration and governance of the province.
- Government of India Act 1919: The Government of India Act 1919, also known as the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms, introduced the concept of dyarchy in the provinces. Under this system, some subjects were reserved for the Governor’s executive control, while others were transferred to Indian ministers responsible to the legislative council. The Governor retained substantial powers, especially in reserved subjects.
- Government of India Act 1935: The Government of India Act 1935 expanded the legislative and executive powers of provincial governments. It introduced provincial autonomy, and Governors were appointed as constitutional heads. However, they continued to act as representatives of the British Crown and exercised powers on the advice of ministers responsible to the provincial legislature.
- Post-Independence: After India gained independence in 1947, the role of the Governor was redefined in the Indian Constitution. The Constitution, which came into effect on January 26, 1950, established a federal structure with a parliamentary system of government. The Governor was made the constitutional head of each state in India.
- States Reorganisation Act, 1956: The States Reorganisation Act was a significant milestone in the history of the post of Governor in India. It reorganized the states on linguistic lines, leading to the formation of new states and union territories. This act also defined the powers and functions of Governors in the reorganized states.
- Evolution of Role: Over the years, the role of the Governor has been subject to debate and criticism, particularly regarding their relationship with the central government and political interference in state affairs. Some Governors have faced allegations of partisanship and acting at the behest of the ruling party at the center.
- Emergency Periods: During times of emergency, such as during the Emergency declared in 1975, Governors played a crucial role in implementing central government decisions in the states.
List of Governors of all States (as of June 2023)
Who appoints the governor of a state in India?
Ans. The governor of a state is appointed by the President of India for a term of 5 years. The governor is the head of the state government and all the executive actions are taken in the name of the governor.
Which union Territories have chief ministers?
Ans. Only two union territories have CMs-Delhi and Puducherry.