President’s Rule

Issues related to the Office of Governor


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Constitutional provisions related to the Governor

Mains level: Paper 2- Misuse of discretionary power by the Governor

The article deals with the role of Governor in the state and issue of misuse of discretionary power vested in him.

Constitutional provision related to Governor

  • Various Raj Bhavans have become embroiled in controversies over the decade.
  • This is partly because the Constitution of India does allow a certain discretion to the Governor.
  • And a discretion invariably does get abused.
  • The framers of the Constitution had rejected an elected Governor because they were unambiguously clear that political power would only be vested with elected executives.
  • Yet, they were not inclined to put in a formal Instrument of Instructions for the Governors and were content to believe that political decencies and correctness would be observed both by the Governor and the Chief Minister.

As the distinguished constitutional expert, Nani A. Palkhivala explained it “the Constitution intended that the Governor should be the instrument to maintain the fundamental equilibrium of the people of the State and to ensure that the mandates of the Constitution are respected in the State”. 

Misuse of ‘discretion’ by Governors

  • As an appointee of the Union Government, the Governors have been prone to act on the instructions by ruling party at the Centre.
  • Inevitably the “discretion” in choosing a Chief Minister, or requiring a Chief Minister to prove his/her majority, or dismissing a Chief Minister, dissolving the legislature, recommending President’s Rule — came to be tainted with partisan political considerations.
  • More often than not, the governor’s discretion was abused, sometimes absurdly, even whimsically.
  • In the S.R. Bommai case, the Supreme Court did try through its judgment to prevent the misuse of power.


The guidelines given in the S.R. Bommai case should be adhered to by the Governor and should avoid conflict with the elected governments in the States.

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