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Position Of Governor Under The Indian Constitution

"There shall be a Governer in each state[1]" it has been confered in Article 153 of our prestigious Indian Constitution, 7th amendment in makes it clear that one person can be appointed as Governor of two or more states , Article 155 confers regarding appointment of governor that Governor shall be appointed by president by warrant under his hand and seal[2].

Who is Governor

Basically governor is that executive body of the particular state, he is generally considered as highest authority as well as nominal head of the state.

Governor's institution in India

This institution comes up after a Comprehensive and deep discussion and debates by the Constituent assembly, basically the target of the framers of the constitution was to come up with strong center, and for completion of this task they have to bring princely states, british provinces, and other tribal area in to the union.

The framers of the constitution were deeply concern that all the states should remain close to the center.

As other constitutional posts has been setup by framers in that same way post of Governor also get established by framers after a lot of hectic and hard discussion .

For the election of Governor first of all constitutional advisor BN Rao put forward an idea that governor should be elected by secret ballot by Single transferable vote system, after that in a report by Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel said that both provincial constitutional committee and union constitutional committee were recommended that the Governor should be elected directly by people, after some time assembly adopted in model constitution that the election process will be directly by people, the term of office would be of 4 years and governor can impeached on the basis of misbehavior.

Then the drafting committee presented a draft and suggested two ways to appoint Governor first was By president and 4 member selected from state assembly and by Proportional Representation (Single Transferable Vote System) and second by direct election by the people,

After this a lot of debates were held in assembly that if the governor will directly be elected then the center will be neglected and Governor will join hands with Chief minister,

That will be hazardous for the concept of strong center, Chairman of Drafting committee were also against the direct election of Governor, he also stand against this proposal,

And finally the constitution which the people of india gave to themselves on 26th november 1949, in that Governor emerges as the constitutional head of the state who will be appointed by the President for the 5 years during the pleasure of president.

As we all know Governor is the constitutional post, Governor is also termed as agent of center and basically a bridge between state and center, Framers were opposing the election of Governor because their consent was to make him center's representative.

Article 155 of the Constitution confers that the Governor of the State shall be appointed by President by warrant under his hand and seal[3], If we see it deeply then we will get conclusion that appointment of Governor by President is mare a formality because if we see Article 74 confers that there shall be council of ministers and Prime minister to advice the president, who shall word accordance of that advice, If we interpret Article 155, then we find that Governor is appointed by president who shall get advice from council of minister as given in article 74.

By this it is clear that Governor is an agent of Center then head of State, and president position in appointment is mere formality.

Durga Das written in his book that 1st President Dr. Rajendra Prashad Complained that appointment of Governor he read first in press, then he was officially informed..

Constitution Framers view on Governor

Constituent Assembly did a hot debate on the whole advantage and disadvantage of an elected as well as nominated Governor of the State, and finally came to conclusion on president nominated Governor because of following reason.

The Government which framers are going to adopt was of Parliamentary form and the position of head should be impartial but if Governor will be directly elected then he will work for party politics, in the assembly one member said that Governor should be detached figure, as it is said that Governor should be person of out side, expert in some educational field and should full support government in running it's policies.

It was said in the Constituent Assembly that the Candidate should be of such caliber whose ability wisdom and rectitude could not be questioned. He should be a person of undoubted ability and position in public life that at the time has not been mixed with the public life and at the same time has not been mixed with provincial struggle and faction.[4]

It was said that if he will directly connected with local politics then he would disturb the situation and will increase fiction in the state.

When government of India came into power the appointment of governor has been managed by two convention:
  1. To keep Governor out of state politics, and he should not be posted in home state, he should posted in other states.
  2. Before appointment there should be consultation with the government of particular state, it will ensure better relationship between state and center.
But till date no convention has been followed properly, this is very unprofessional approach of Indian politics.

What Sarkaria Commission said for appointment of Governor
Sarkaria Commission has been constituted in 1983 by Central government, it has been setup to examine the relationship between Center and State government in the country, as well as to suggest proper changes which needs to develop cordial relationship between both.

So, after reviewing long working of constitution this commission find so major distress and suggested certain changes in state as well in the institution of governor, by applying that the country can have better center state relation.

The recommendation which it makes in the appointment of governor are:
  1. The person who is in the post of governor should have some special knowledge in certain areas.
  2. The person should be of other state.
  3. He should be out from local politics.
  4. He should not be the person who have a great role in politics.
  5. For a change person belongs to minority.
  • It has been suggested that politician from ruling party at center should not be appointed as Governor of state which is being run by other party.[5]
  • A confidential consultation between vice president, speaker of lok sabha, and prime minister should be there in appointment of Governor. It is for that to ensure that Chief Minsiter and Governor should have better repport, this will ensure better working condition in state, because Governor should act as guide and friend of chief minister.[6]
After the commission's report, the appointment was smoothly undergoing upto then when there was one party rule in center as well as in state, or we can say that it was just mere formality, but when the 4th general election which was held in 1967 get over, the condition of politics went a broader change when different political parties came into the power in center and states with political alliance. With that time appointment of governor become a controversial issue, in those states where government are different.

Article 156 states the term of office of Governor:
  1. The Governor shall hold office during the pleasure of president.
  2. The Government by writing under his hand addressed to president resign his office.
  3. Subject to forgoing provision of this article a Government shall hold office for a term of 5 years from the date upon which he enters upon the office.[7]

Provided that governor shall, notwithstanding the expiration of his term continue to hold office until his successor enters upon his office.

Here there is contradiction in Article 156, here in the Article 156(1) says Governor is to hold office during the pleasure of President[8]. But in clause 3 of same article it has been given that Governor shall hold office for the term of 5 years[9], here clause 3 is being enveloped by clause here constitution makers have bind modus oprendi to remove the governor in the article which shows contradiction.

One more thing here is to mention that there is no provision given in the constitution for the removal of Governor or the impeachment of governor, where as Article 61 provides the methods for the impeachment of President, so what it confers? It clearly confers that the power to remove the Governor is clearly in the hands of Center, and it can remove Governor from its position as any time withous assigning any reason, as Governor has to be under the influence of Center.

So, in my personal view Article 156 is not according to frame work of constitution.

In the case Surya Narain Vs Union of India[10], Rajasthan High Court given a verdict that Article 156 says that Governor to hold office during the pleasure of president and it further says that Governor shall hold office for the term of 5 years so it is very clear that there is no security for the position and tenure, the expression 'Pleasure of president' is not Justifiable.[11]

With these short comings there are many functions of the Governor in the state these are:
  • Prorogation of Legislature
    As Governor is the integral part in legistative process of the state, so he can Adjourn ( interruption in the regular business of the assembly), Prorogate (End of the session of Assembly), Dissolution (End of the assembly and ready for fresh elections).
  • Summoning of the house
    A Governor has a power to summon the session of the state assembly but there should be gap of six month, It is given in article 175(1) that he also can call joint session and can address both the houses.
  • Dismissal of a minister or a council of minister
    Without anyons's advice he can appoints Chief Minister as per Article 164(1), but it is also given in same clause that for the appointment of council of ministers he has to take advice of chief minister. So this proves that he is not free while removing the minister or council of ministers, he is bound to take advice of Chief Minister.
  • Reservation of bills for reconsideration of President
    Under article 200 Governor has a power to reserve a bill passed by legislature for reconsideation of President, he can reserve the bill in such condition:
    1. If it is against the Directive Principles of State policy.
    2. If it is unconstitutional.
    3. If it endangers the position of high courts.
    4. If it is against the interest of the Country.
    Article 200 does not says that put it for reconsideration from president after giving assent, here if Governor is putting it for president's reconsideration so he is prohibited to give his assent, basically it is his discretionary power, he has not to take advice of chief minister or council of minister, and they will not advice Governor for putting it for the reconsideration as the have passed it by majority.
  • Governor's report and president rule under article 356
    Under Article 356 the president can declare emergency in the state on the report of Governor of that particular state or if he is satisfied that the situation has arisen where the state machinery can not be handled properly or accordance with the constitution, the he can declare emergency. Good thing about this article is that president can impose emergency without the report of Governor also.
  • Seeking Information
    The Governor has right to seek information of the working of state machinery with chief minister, this is also his discretionary power.
In Article 167(a) it has been conferred that it is the duty of chief minister to keep governor updated with the information about the decision of the council of ministers relating to the affairs and of administration of the state, Article 167(c) provides governor power to ask to submit the report of work of council of minister at any matter.

Is Governor an agent of state?
It is very obvious that Governor is the chain linkage between Center and State, and he is the one who submits all the reports to the union so, he is the one who ensures and helps in making good relation between center and state, as per Article 160, Article 200, Article 257, Article 167.

Governor confers every affairs of the state to president, as well as he should follow the advice of president, if we see the history so there is no any noted provision for the removal of governor, so it is very clear that this descision is with president, so he has to act as a 'Good Boy' of the Center, as we take is in positive manner so he has to be like the mirror of government of state, not as agent not as spy of center.

As we see several problem comes up regarding the Governor,we can say that this is the mistake of framers of the constitution the they didn't visualized it properly the problems that are arising now a days, as every article of governor if coming up with new controversies.

If we see the role of governor in the state of we will find that he is a philosopher for the state, and parallel a mediator and arbitrator of the State and union but a baised arbitrator and mediator.

The observations of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, in this context, are worth quoting here: "We have made a Constitution and we should abide by the Constitution, nevertheless, let it not be said that that Constitution, every part of it, every chapter and corner of it, is some thing that is so sacrosanct that it cannot be changed even if the needs of the Country or the Nation so required. Undoubtedly, it can be changed whenever necessary, not lightly but after full thought, if it is thought that the part of the Constitution comes in the way of the nation's progress.[12]

  1. Bare Provisions:The Constitution of India, Universal Publication, New Delhi, 2005, P-257
  2. Bare Provisions:The Constitution of India, Universal Publication, New Delhi, 2005, P-257
  3. Bare Provisions:The Constitution of India, Universal Publication, New Delhi, 2005, P-258
  5. Para (4.16.01) (4,06.01) ibid, note-18
  6. Para(4.16.02) (4.6.25) ibid note-18
  7. Bare Provisions:The Constitution of India, Universal Publication, New Delhi, 2005
  9. Bare Provisions:The Constitution of India, Universal Publication, New Delhi, 2005
  10. AIR81 Rajasthan High Court
Written By:
  • Utsav Mishra
  • Ankita Yadav
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