The Governor is the constitutional head of the state executive. Generally, there is a separate Governor in each State but if the situation warrants so, the same person may be appointed as the Governor of two or more States. Article 154 vests the executive power of the State in the Governor.
The Governor of a State shall be appointed by the President. His usual term of office is five years but he holds office during the pleasure of the President. Generally, the Governor does not belong to the State where he is appointed. He can also be transferred from one state to another by the President. He can also resign any time by addressing his resignation to the President.
The Legislature of a State or a High Court has no role in the removal of a Governor. A person may be appointed as a Governor for any number of terms. Two conventions have been set up in the matter of appointing a person as Governor of a State. He should not be a resident of the State concerned and, the State Government concerned is consulted and its views are sought regarding the proposed choice.
According to Article 158 (3A), where the same person is appointed as Governor of two or more States, the emoluments and allowances payable to the Governor shall be allocated among the States in such proportion as the President may by order determine.
Article 157 and Article 158 of the Constitution of India specify eligibility requirements for the post of governor. They are as follows:
• He should be a citizen of India.
• He must have completed 35 years of age.
• He should not be a member of Parliament or of any State Legislature. If he is a member of any of Legislature, he automatically vacates his seat on assuming the office.
• He should not hold any other profitable occupation.
The Governor is the head of the state executive and he has enormous powers. In the exercise of functions and powers, the Governor, except in certain cases, is to be guided by the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister (under Article 163).
• He appoints the leader of the majority party in the State Legislative Assembly as the Chief Minister of the State.
• He appoints other members of the Council of Ministers on the recommendation of the Chief Minister.
• He appoints the Chairman and Members of the State Public Service Commission.
• He appoints the state election commissioner and determines his conditions of service and tenure of office.
• He acts as the chancellor of universities in the state. He also appoints the Vice Chancellors of universities in the state.
• He directly rules a State when there is the imposition of the President’s rule in the State.
The Governor is an integral part of the state legislature. But, he is not a member in the either house of the legislature. In this capacity, he enjoys the following legislative powers and functions:
• He has the right to summon, 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 houses of the state legislature relating to a bill pending in the legislature.
• He can appoint any member of the Legislative Assembly to preside over its proceedings when the offices of both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker fall vacant.
• He can nominate one member to the State Legislative Assembly from the Anglo-Indian Community.
• He nominates 1/6 of the members of the State Legislative Council from amongst the persons having special knowledge or practical experience in literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service.
• Every bill passed by the state legislature will become law only after his signature. But, when a bill is sent to the Governor after it is passed by the legislature, he has the options to give his assent to the bill or withhold his assent to the bill or return the bill for the reconsideration of the legislature.
• He can promulgate ordinances when the state legislature is not in session under Article 213. But, these ordinances must be approved by the legislature within six months. He can also withdraw an ordinance at anytime.
• He has to lay the annual 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 Constitution confers on the Governor, the duty to get prepared and introduced to the State Legislature, the annual budget and also the supplementary budgets, if necessary.
• Money Bills can be introduced in the Legislative Assembly only with his prior recommendation.
• He can make advances out of the state Contingency Fund to meet any unforeseen expenditure.
• He constitutes a Finance Commission after every five years to review the financial position of the panchayats and the municipalities.
• He appoints the Attorney-General of the State.
• He makes appointment, postings and promotions of the District Judges in consultation with the State High Court.
• The Chief Justice of the High Court in the State is appointed by the President in consultation with him.
• He can pardon, commute or reprieve punishment on receipt of appeals for mercy except death sentence.
• The Governor can reserve a bill for the consideration of the president.
• He can call the leader of any party to form ministry in the state when there is no clear-cut majority to any party in the Legislative Assembly after the general elections.
• He can dismiss the Council of Ministers when it is unable to prove the confidence of the Legislative Assembly; and
If the Governor is satisfied that the government of the state is not carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, he may, under Article 356, recommend to the President to impose President Rule in that State. As soon as the President Rule is imposed, the administration of the State is carried on by the Governor as the representative of the President.
Article 361(1) provides for the following privileges for the Governor;
• The Governor of a State, is not be answerable to any court for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of his office or for any act done or purporting to be done by him in the exercise and performance of those powers and duties.
• No process for the arrest or imprisonment of the Governor of a State, shall issue from any court during his term of office.