A governor possesses executive, legislative, financial and judicial powers more or less analogous to the President of India. However, he has no diplomatic, military or emergency powers like the president.
The powers and functions of the governor can be studied under the following heads:
1. Executive powers.
2. Legislative powers.
3. Financial powers.
4. Judicial powers.
The executive powers and functions of the Governor are:
1. All executive actions of the government of a state are formally taken in his name.
2. He can make rules specifying the manner in which the Orders and other instruments made and executed in his name shall be authenticated.
3. He can make rules for more convenient transaction of the business of a state government and for the allocation among the ministers of the said business.
4. He appoints the chief minister and other ministers. They also hold office during his pleasure. There should be a Tribal Welfare minister in the states of Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha appointed by him. The state of Bihar was excluded from this provision by the 94th Amendment Act of 2006.
5. He appoints the advocate general of a state and determines his remuneration. The advocate general holds office during the pleasure of the governor.
6. He appoints the state election commissioner and determines his conditions of service and tenure of office. However, the state election commissioner can be removed only in like manner and on the like grounds as a judge of a high court.
7. He appoints the chairman and members of the state public service commission. However, they can be removed only by the president and not by a governor.
8. He can seek any information relating to the administration of the affairs of the state and proposals for legislation from the chief minister.
9. He can require the chief minister to submit for the 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 council.
10. He can recommend the imposition of constitutional emergency in a state to the president. During the period of President’s rule in a state, the governor enjoys extensive executive powers as an agent of the President.
11. He acts as the chancellor of universities in the state. He also appoints the vice-chancellors of universities in the state.
A governor is an integral part of the state legislature. In that capacity, he has
the following legislative powers and functions:
1. He can summon or prorogue the state legislature and dissolve the state legislative assembly.
2. He can address the state legislature at the commencement of the first session after each general election and the first session of each year.
3. He can send messages to the house or houses of the state legislature, with respect to a bill pending in the legislature or otherwise.
4. He can appoint any member of the State legislative assembly to preside over its proceedings when the offices of both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker fall vacant. Similarly, he can appoint any member of the state legislature council to preside over its proceedings when the offices of both Chairman and Deputy Chairman fall vacant.
5. He nominates one-sixth of the members of the state legislative council from amongst persons having special knowledge or practical experience in literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service.
6. He can nominate one member to the state legislature assembly from the Anglo-Indian Community.
7. He decides on the question of disqualification of members of the state legislature in consultation with the Election Commission.
8. When a bill is sent to the governor after it is passed by state legislature, he can:
(a) Give his assent to the bill, or
(b) Withhold his assent to the bill, or
(c) Return the bill (if it is not a money bill) for reconsideration of the state legislature. However, if the bill is passed again by the state legislature with or without amendments, the governor has to give his assent to the bill, or
(d) Reserve the bill for the consideration of the president. In one case such reservation is obligatory, that is, where the bill passed by the state legislature endangers the position of the state high court. In addition, the governor can also reserve the bill if it is of the following nature:4
(i) Ultra-vires, that is, against the provisions of the Constitution.
(ii) Opposed to the Directive Principles of State Policy.
(iii) Against the larger interest of the country.
(iv) Of grave national importance.
(v) Dealing with compulsory acquisition of property under Article 31A of the Constitution.
9. He can promulgate ordinances when the state legislature is not in session. These ordinances must be approved by the state legislature within six weeks from its reassembly. He can also withdraw an ordinance anytime. This is the most important legislative power of the governor.
10. He lays the reports of the State Finance Commission, the State Public Service Commission and the Comptroller and Auditor-General relating to the accounts of the state, before the state legislature.
The financial powers and functions of the governor are:
1. He sees that the Annual Financial Statement (state budget) is laid before the state legislature.
2. Money bills can be introduced in the state legislature only with his prior recommendation.
3. No demand for a grant can be made except on his recommendation.
4. He can make advances out of the Contingency Fund of the state to meet any unforeseen expenditure.
5. He constitutes a finance commission after every five years to review the financial position of the panchayats and the municipalities.
The judicial powers and functions of the governor are:
1. He can grant pardons, reprives, respites and remissions of punishment or suspend, remit and commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the state extends.5
2. He is consulted by the president while appointing the judges of the concerned state high court.
3. He makes appointments, postings and promotions of the district judges in consultation with the state high court.
4. He also appoints persons to the judicial service of the state (other than district judges) in consultation with the state high court and the State Public Service Commission.
Now, we will study in detail the three important powers of the governor (veto power, ordinance-making power and pardoning power) by comparing them with that of the President.