Governors of states of India
The governors and lieutenant-governors of the states and union territories of India have similar powers and functions at the state level as that of the President of India at Union level. Governors exist in the states while lieutenant-governors exist in union territories and in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. Governor acts as the nominal head whereas the real power lies in the hand of the chief ministers of the states and the chief minister's Council of Minister .
In India, a lieutenant governor is in charge of a Union Territory. However the rank is present only in the union territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Delhi and Puducherry (the other territories have an administrator appointed, who is an IAS officer).However the governor of Punjab acts as the administrator of Chandigarh. Lieutenant-governors hold the same rank as a governor of a state in the list of precedence.
The governors and lieutenant-governors are appointed by the president for a term of 5 years.
A governor must:
- be a citizen of India;
- be at least thirty-five (35)years old;
- not be a member of the either house of the parliament or house of the state legislature.
- not hold any other office of profit.
Powers and functions
The governor enjoys many different types of powers:
- Executive powers related to administration, appointments and removals,
- Legislative powers related to lawmaking and the state legislature, that is Vidhan Sabha or Vidhan Parishad,
- Discretionary powers to be carried out according to the discretion of the governor.
The Constitution vests in the governor all the executive powers of the state government. The governor appoints the chief minister, who enjoys the support of the majority in the Vidhan Sabha. The governor also appoints the other members of the Council of Ministers and distributes portfolios to them on the advice of the chief minister.
The Council of Ministers remain in power during the 'pleasure' of the governor, but in the real sense it means the pleasure of the Vidhan Sabha. As long as the majority in the Vidhan Sabha supports the government, the Council of Ministers cannot be dismissed.
The governor appoints the chief minister of a state. He/she also appoints the Advocate General and the chairman and members of the State Public Service Commission. The president consults the governor in the appointment of judges of the High Courts and the governor appoints the judges of the District Courts. All administrations are carried on his/her name , he/she also has the power to appoint staff for his tenure in class one and class four as per constitution of India.
The governor summons the sessions of both houses of the state legislature and prorogues them. The governor can even dissolve the Vidhan Sabha. These powers are formal and the governor while using these powers must act according to the advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the chief minister.
The governor inaugurates the state legislature by addressing it after the assembly elections and also at the beginning of the first session every year. The governor's address on these occasions generally outlines new policies of the state government. A bill that the state legislature has passed, can become a law only after the governor gives assent. The governor can return a bill to the state legislature, if it is not a money bill, for reconsideration. However, if the state legislature sends it back to the governor for the second time, the governor must assent to it. The governor has the power to reserve certain bills for the president.
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. 
Money bills can be introduced in the State Legislative Assembly only on the prior recommendation of the governor. He also causes to be laid before the State Legislature the annual financial statement which is the State Budget. Further no demand for grant shall be made except on his recommendation. He can also make advances out of the Contingency Fund of the State to meet any unforeseen expenditure. Moreover, he constitutes the State Finance Commission. In vidhan sabha he nominates 1 person.
The governor can use these powers:
- If no party gets an absolute majority, the governor can use his discretion in the selection of the chief minister.
- During an emergency he can override the advice of the council of ministers. At such times, he acts as an agent of the president and becomes the real ruler of the state.
- He uses his discretion in submitting a report to the president regarding the affairs of the state.
- He can withhold his assent to a bill and send it to the president for his approval.
|Date established||Salary (per month)|
|1 January 2006||₹110000 (US$1,700)|
Various emoluments, allowances and privileges available to a governor are determined by the Governors (Emoluments, Allowances and Privileges) Act, 1982.
In addition to the monthly salary, the governor is entitled to rent free official residence, free household facilities and conveyance. The governor and his family are provided with free medical attendance, accommodation and treatment for life.
The term of governor's office is normally 5 years but it can be terminated earlier by:
- Dismissal by the president on the advice of the prime minister of the country, at whose pleasure the governor holds office.
- Resignation by the governor
There is no provision of impeachment, as it happens for the president.
Analysis of role in Government
While the President of India is "elected", Governor is "selected" by the incumbent Central government. That is why there have been many instances when governors appointed by previous government are removed by incoming government. The reasons are more political. The supreme court has ruled that governors need to be given security of term but is generally not adhered to.
Political observers have described governorship as "plush old age homes" where in the governor does not stay impartial and act against popular state leaders. In 1984, Congressman Ram Lal dismissed the NT Rama Rao government and allowed Nadendla Bhaskar Rao as chief minister of Andhra Pradesh for 31 days.
In January 2014, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had approached Union Law Ministry under UPA Government to record statements of West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan and Goa Governor Bharat Vir Wanchoo. Their statements were considered vital as Narayanan was National Security Adviser and Wanchoo was Chief of Special Protection Group (SPG) at the time of signing of contract with AgustaWestland. Their views were also considered before Indian Government signed the contract with AgustaWestland. However, Union Law ministry stonewalled CBI probe by rejecting CBI's request to examine them claiming they had 'immunity'. UPA was defeated in Indian general election, 2014 and with the incoming NDA Government's permission, West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan became the first ever Governor to be questioned by police in a criminal case. The CBI questioned MK Narayanan as a "witness" in ₹ 3600-crore 2013 Indian helicopter bribery scandal. The CBI said Goa Governor Bharat Vir Wanchoo would be questioned in the same case.
- The term governor can refer governors as well as lieutenant-governors where applicable.
- ^ Source: Wikisource
- "1982 Act" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 February 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
- "Article 156, The Constitution Of India". Archived from the original on 25 July 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
- "Changing UPA's governors: Why Tharoor is only half-right". Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- "Why the post of governors should be abolished". Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- "CBI seeks Home, Law ministries’ advice to examine B V Wanchoo, M K Narayanan".
- "VVIP chopper deal: CBI seeks President's permission to question Narayanan, Wanchoo". The Times Of India.
- "Chopper Scam: CBI Questions WB Guv M.K. Narayanan". Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- "VVIP chopper deal: Governors can be questioned while in office, says Attorney General". Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- Social Science – Part II: Indian National Council of Educational Research and Training textbook, ISBN 81-7450-351-X
- Constitution of India#Chapter I The Executive at Wikisource
- Lt. Governors and Governors of States & UT (India). Retrieved 6 April 2013