The Government of the State

Article 153 refers to the office of a Governor for each State whereas Article 154 says that all the executive powers of the State shall be vested in the Governor who exercises them either himself or through officers subordinate to him. However, the Governor’s functions can be enhanced and the Parliament or the State legislature can confer any function on any authority subordinate to Governor. “The Governor is appointed by the President (Article 155). “There can be one Governor for two or more States (Article 153).

Article 156 specifies the term of office of the Governor which is 5 years. He will continue to remain in his office till his successor is appointed, notwithstanding the five-year term. “The Governor holds office during the pleasure of the President who can also transfer him to any other State. According to Article 157, a person is eligible for appointment as Governor

  • one who is a citizen of India and
  • has completed the age of thirty-five years. He is not to be a member of either House of the Parliament or a House of the state legislature and if he is so, his seat would be regarded as vacant, when he enters upon the office of the Governor; he does not hold any office of profit. His oath or affirmation (under Article 159) prescribes that he would preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and law.

“The Constitution vests all the executive powers in the hands of the Governor. “The Governor appoints the Chief Minister who enjoys the support of the majority in the Vidhan Sabha. He or she also appoints the other members of the Council of Ministers on the advice of the Chief Minister who distributes portfolios to them. He/She makes other major appointments of the State. “The Council of Ministers holds office during the ‘pleasure’ of the Governor, which in the real sense means the pleasure of the Vidhan Sabha. As long as the majority in the Vidhan Sabha supports the Council of Ministers, the Ministers cannot be dismissed. “The Governor appoints the Advocate General (Article 165) and the chairman and members of the State Public Service Commission (Article 316).

He or she is consulted by the President in the appointment of the judges of the High Courts and he or she appoints the judges of the District Courts. “The Governor has certain legislative powers as well. “The Governor summons the sessions of both Houses of the State legislature, if there is the second House in the State, and prorogues them. He or she can dissolve the Vidhan Sabha. “The Governor, while using these powers, acts according to the advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister. He or she addresses the legislature after the general elections and also at the beginning of the first session every year. His or her address on these occasions generally means outlining the new policies of the state government (Articles 174, 175, 176). A bill that the state legislature has passed, becomes a law only after the Governor gives his assent to it.

He or she can return a bill to the state legislature, if it is not a money bill, for reconsideration (Article 200). However, if the state legislature sends it back to him or her for the second time, he or she has to give his or her assent to it. “The Governor can withhold his/ her the bills a reserve bills for the consideration of the President (Article 200), usually on the recommendations of his council of Ministers. When the State legislature is not in session the Governor can promulgate ordinances (Article 213). “These ordinances are submitted to the state legislature within six weeks when the new session begins. To grant pardon, reprieve, remit the punishment related to a matter to which the Governor’s executive power extends, is Governor’s judicial power (Article 161). A money bill is introduced in the Vidhan Sabha with the prior permission of the Governor. Usually, the Governor acts on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister, but in certain situations he or she has to act on his or her own judgment. “These may be described as the discretionary powers of the Governor, which powers can be exercised in the following cases: (a) In the appointment of the Chief Minister of a State (Article 164).

When no party gets a majority in the Vidhan Sabha, the Governor can either ask the leader of the single largest party or the consensus leader of two or more parties (that is, a coalition party) to form the government. Indian Polity and Governance?89 (b) In dissolving the Legislative Assembly in case the Government is satisfied that the incumbent thief Minister has lost is going to lose the confidence of the Legislative Assembly support (Article 174) (c) In recommending to the President that there is the failure of constitutional machinery in a state (Article 356). “The Governor’s report to the President informs, the President that the state cannot be carried on as per the provisions of the Constitution of India and suggests the President to impose President’s rule in that State. “The Governor preserves, protects and defends the Constitution and the law. In normal circumstances, the Governor acts as a constitutional and nominal head. But when emergency is declared, especially under Article 356, the Governor rules the State on the directives of the Union Government and in the name of the President.

“Things worked well until the same political party ruled at the central and the state levels, but with different political parties in power in the States, there arose demand for state autonomy, following the rise and growth of the regional parties and the dwindling position of the national political parties, an era of cooperation between the Union and the States has began. Article 163 of the Constitution states that there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at its head to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions, except those on which he exercises his discretion. “The advice given to the Governor by the Council of Ministers is not to be questioned in any court of law. It is clear that the Governor, in normal circumstances, acts on the advice of the Council of Ministers. But where he has the discretionary powers, the Governor acts on his own judgement.

“The Governor appoints the Chief Minister (Article 164) who commands the majority support in the state legislative assembly. “Thereafter, the Governor appoints other Ministers on the recommendations of the Chief Minister. “The Council of Ministers exercises all the executive powers in the name of the Governor, formulates policies with regard to the state administration, makes recommendations with regard to all the major appointments, carries on administration, and helps make legislation in the legislature. “The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the state legislative assembly. “The Chief Minister is the real executive head in the state. He presides over the meetings of the state cabinet, allocates departments to the state ministers, and supervises their functioning.

He is a channel between the Governor and the State Council of Ministers. Article 167 of the Constitution prescribes the following duties of the Chief Minister: (a) to communicate to the Governor all decisions of the State Council of Ministers related to administration and proposals for legislation; (b) to furnish such information related to the administration and proposals for legislation as the Governor would call for; and (c) to submit, if the Governor so requires, 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 of Ministers.

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