Governor – Legislative Powers – FREE UPSC Notes/PDF

The Constitution of India envisages the same pattern of government in the states as that for the Centre, that is, a parliamentary system. He is appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal. In a way, he is a nominee of the Central government. But, as held by the Supreme Court in 1979, the office of the governor of a state is not an employment under the Central government. It is an independent constitutional office and is not under the control of or subordinate to the Central government.

But in reality, the governor acts as an agent of the centre. That is why there remained a conflict between the centre and the states. To resolve these conflicts between the centre and the states, the government appointed so many authorities such as Sarkaria Commission and Punchhi Commission etc.

Unlike the President, the governor enjoys only four types of powers. These are:

It becomes difficult for students to remember the powers of the governor pointwise. Here I have made it easy for you to remember it pointwise. Here I am not telling you the shortcut way, short cut way works only for a short duration. I’ll tell you the keyword and present you in an organised way.

Now let us read and memorize the legislative powers of the governor. Here I have a very interesting way to remember the legislative power. I am sure you will enjoy this method. Let us first have a very basic knowledge about it. Legislative powers mean, law-making power. We have Parliament (Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha). There are some ‘Members of Parliament’ called MP. They discuss the bills and make laws. There are also state legislatures (a parliament at the state level) they also make laws for their states by introducing and discussing bills. A state legislature comprises of Legislative Assembly and a Legislative Council ( the second one is optional, some states have it and some not).

Now suppose you are the governor of a state. What is your legislative duties. Here I am going to tell you. It is like a sequential action.

  • You will call the meeting of the house, where all the members will come and discuss the bills.
  • You will address the house with your speech. And you can send your messages to the house.
  • You will appoint the members of the state legislature. If there are no members, how the laws will be made. Yes, it is your duty to appoint them.
  • And Yes, it is also your duty to remove them.
  • Now, what is the role of the state legislature? To make laws. When Members of state legislature want to introduce the bill in the house, they require your permission.
  • And when they discuss and pass the bill. At last, your signature on the bill is necessary. So, the bill comes to you. And you have many choices with regard to this.
  • When the state legislature enjoys the leave. Then it is your duty to make laws (Ordinance making power)

Now let’s read, what is written in the constitution.

The governor is an integral part of the state legislature. He is not a member of the state legislature but an integral part. Remember this point.

  • He can summon or prorogue the state legislature and dissolve the state legislative assembly.
  • He can address the state legislature at the commencement of the first session after each general election and the first session of each year.
  • He can send messages to the house or houses of the state legislature, whether with respect to a bill pending in the legislature or otherwise.
  • He can appoint any member of the state legislative assembly to preside over its proceedings when the offices of both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker fall vacant. Similarly, he can also appoint any member of the state legislative council to preside over its proceedings when the offices of both the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman fall vacant.
  • 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.
  • He can nominate one member to the state legislative assembly from the Anglo-Indian Community.
  • He decides on questions as to disqualifications of members of the state legislature, in consultation with the Election Commission.
  • His prior recommendations are needed to introduce certain types of bills in the state legislature.
  • When a bill is sent to the governor after it has been passed by the state legislature, he can:
    (i) give his assent to the bill, or
    (ii) withhold his assent to the bill, or
    (iii) 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.
  • When a bill passed by the state legislature is reserved by the governor for consideration of the President, the President can:
    (i) give his assent to the bill, or
    (ii) withhold his assent to the bill, or
    (iii) direct the governor to return the bill (if it is not a money bill) for reconsideration of the state legislature. It should be noted here that is is not obligatory for the president to give his assent even it the bill is again passed y the state legislature and sent again to him for his consideration.
    (iv) Reserve the bill for the consideration of the president. In one case such case 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:
    (a) Ultra-vires, that is, against the provisions of the Constitution.
    (b) Opposed to the Directive Principles of State Policy.
    (c) Against the larger interest of the country.
    (d) Of grave national importance.
    (e) Dealing with the compulsory acquisition of property under Article 31A of the constitution.
  • 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 at any time.

So, it becomes easy when you think yourself as the governor. And it is your sequential duties.

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