From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Legislative Powers of Governor
Mains level : Read the attached story
Tamil Nadu CM has charged that the Governor that he had failed to perform the duty vested in him by the Constitution when it came to deciding on the Bill adopted in the Legislative Assembly against the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).
What is the issue?
- The Governor had returned the Bill to the Assembly Speaker instead of forwarding it for Presidential assent.
Constitutional Powers of the Governor
- Article 154: 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.
- Article 163 (1): There shall be a council of ministers with the chief minister as the head to aid and advise the governor in the exercise of his functions, except in so far as he is required to exercise his functions in his discretion.
- Article 163 (2): If any question arises whether a matter falls within the governor’s discretion or not, the decision of the governor is final and the validity of anything done by him cannot be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion.
- The governor has constitutional discretion in the following cases:
a) Reservation of a bill for the consideration of the President (Articles 200 and 201).
b) Recommendation for the imposition of the President’s Rule in the state (Article 356).
c) While exercising his functions as the administrator of an adjoining Union territory (in case of an additional charge).
d) Special responsibility in 5th and 6th schedule areas.
e) Seeking information from the chief minister with regard to the administrative and legislative matters of the state.
- Also, the governor has situational discretion (i.e., the hidden discretion derived from the exigencies of a prevailing political situation) in the following cases:
a) Appointment of the chief minister when no party has a clear-cut majority in the state legislative assembly or when the chief minister in office dies suddenly and there is no obvious successor.
b) Dismissal of the council of ministers when it cannot prove the confidence of the state legislative
c) Dissolution of the state legislative assembly if the council of ministers has lost its majority.
What are the Legislative Powers of Governor?
Governor summons the sessions of both houses of the state legislature and prorogues them.
- The governor can even dissolve the State Legislative Assembly.
- These powers are formal and the governor’s use of these powers must comply with the advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister.
- He addresses the first session of the state legislature after the general elections in the state.
Appointments to the legislature
- He appoints 1/6th members of the State Legislative Council in states wherever there is a bicameral legislature.
- He nominates one member in the state legislative assembly from the Anglo-Indian Community if in view; the community is not well represented.
- Governor is empowered under Article 192 to disqualify a member of the State legislature when the election commission recommends that the legislator is no longer complying with provisions of Article 191.
Passing of Bills
- All the bills passed by the state legislatures are sent to the Governor for assent.
- Once a bill is sent to Governor for assent, he can:
a) Give assent to the bill
b) Withhold the assent
c) Return the bill to the legislature for reconsideration if it is not a money bill.
d) If the bill is re-passed by the legislature with or without amendment, the governor has to give assent to the bill.
e) Reserve the bill for consideration of the President.
When is the Bill sent to the President?
This is done under the circumstances when a bill:
- Violates the constitution or against directive principles of state policy (DPSP)
- Conflict with union powers
- Against the larger interest of the country and people
- May endanger the position of the high court in the state.
Ordinance making power
- When the state legislature is not in session and the governor considers it necessary to have a law, then the governor can promulgate ordinances.
- These ordinances are submitted to the state legislature at its next session.
- They remain valid for no more than six weeks from the date the state legislature is reconvened unless approved by it earlier.
- As per Articles 165 and 177, Governor can ask the Advocate General to attend the proceedings of both houses of the state legislature and report to them any unlawful functioning if any.
Concerns with the role of governor
- Misuse of discretionary powers: States allege that this provision has often been misused by the governor who acts on the behest of the union government which is opposed to the basic scheme of the Indian Constitution.
- Appointment by centre: This often leads to the appointment of persons aligning with the party’s ideology to the post of Governor and he/she remains faithful to the Union government of the day rather than acting on the advice of the State Executive.
- Arbitrary removal: Even after Supreme Court Judgement in B.P. Singhal v. Union of India calling for a fixed tenure for Governors to encourage neutrality and fairness in the discharge of their duties, it is not being implemented on the ground.