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Governors in Indian Polity

PART VI of the Indian Constitution deals with the states of India and their governments. It covers the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the state governments.

  • Article 152 defines what a state is, and the following articles outline the roles and responsibilities of the Governors of the states.

The office of the Governor is dealt with in Articles 153 to 167 of the Indian Constitution. These articles outline the powers and responsibilities of the Governor, as well as the process for their selection and removal.

  • Article 153 states that there will be a Governor for each state, and allows for the same person to be appointed as Governor for multiple states.

  • Article 154 outlines the executive powers of the Governor, which may be exercised directly or through subordinates.

  • Article 155 details the process for the appointment of a Governor by the President.

  • Article 156 specifies the term of office for a Governor, which is five years unless they resign or are removed by the President.

  • Article 157 sets the qualifications for appointment as a Governor, including being a citizen of India and having reached the age of 35 years.

The Governor is a constitutional post in the Indian Polity, with a defined role and powers. In this blog post, we will explore the position of the Governor in Indian Polity, including their powers and responsibilities, selection and removal, and their relationship with the state government and the President of India. We will also discuss the significance of the Governor's role in the Indian political system.

Article 158 - Conditions of the Governor's Office

The office of the Governor in Indian Polity carries with it certain conditions that must be adhered to by the person holding the office. These conditions are outlined in Article 158 of the Indian Constitution.

First, the Governor shall not be a member of either House of Parliament or of a state legislature. If a person holding such a position is appointed as Governor, they are deemed to have vacated their seat in the legislature on the date they assume their new office.

Second, the Governor shall not hold any other office of profit. This means that they cannot hold any other position that provides them with financial benefit while serving as Governor.

Third, the Governor is entitled to use their official residences without paying rent, and they are also entitled to certain emoluments, allowances, and privileges as determined by Parliament. Until such provisions are made, the Governor is entitled to the emoluments, allowances, and privileges specified in the Second Schedule of the Constitution.

Fourth, where the same person is appointed as Governor of multiple states, the emoluments and allowances payable to the Governor shall be allocated among the states in a proportion determined by the President.

Lastly, the emoluments and allowances of the Governor shall not be diminished during their term of office. This means that the financial benefits of the office cannot be reduced while the Governor is serving in the position.

In summary, the conditions of the Governor's office ensure that they are not conflicted by other political positions, are not financially benefiting from other offices, and are provided with certain privileges and protections during their tenure.

Article 159 - Oath or Affirmation of Governor's Office

The oath or affirmation of office is a significant step in the process of becoming a Governor in Indian Polity. Article 159 of the Indian Constitution outlines the specific form of the oath or affirmation that must be made by the Governor and any person discharging the functions of the Governor.

Before entering upon their office, the Governor and any person discharging the functions of the Governor must make and subscribe to the oath or affirmation in the presence of the Chief Justice of the High Court exercising jurisdiction in relation to the state, or in their absence, the senior-most judge of that court available.

The specific form of the oath or affirmation is as follows:

"I, A. B., do swear in the name of God that I will solemnly affirm faithfully execute the office of Governor (or discharge the functions of the Governor) of ………….(name of the State) and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law and that I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of ..………(name of the State)."

This oath or affirmation is a solemn commitment by the Governor to uphold the Constitution and the law, and to serve the people of the state to the best of their ability. It is a crucial step in the process of assuming the office of Governor, and serves as a reminder of the responsibilities and duties of the position.

Powers and Responsibilities of the Governor

Articles 160-162 of the Indian Constitution outline the powers and responsibilities of the Governor in relation to the executive branch of the state government. The Governor of a state in India has a range of powers and responsibilities, which can be broadly classified into executive, legislative, and judicial powers.

Article 160 allows the President to make provisions for the discharge of the functions of the Governor in any contingency not already provided for in the constitution. This allows for flexibility in the event of unforeseen circumstances that may arise during the Governor's tenure.

Article 161 grants the Governor the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites, or remissions of punishment, or to suspend, remit, or commute the sentence of any person convicted of an offence against a state law. This power allows the Governor to exercise mercy in certain cases, and to make decisions on the punishment of individuals convicted of offences within the state.

Article 162 outlines the extent of the executive power of a state, stating that it shall extend to the matters over which the state legislature has the power to make laws. However, in matters over which both the state legislature and Parliament have the power to make laws, the executive power of the state is subject to and limited by the executive power conferred upon the Union or its authorities by the constitution or by Parliament.

The Governor has the power to pardon individuals convicted of certain offences, but cannot pardon a death sentence. In addition to the articles specifically dealing with the Governor, there are several other articles that touch on the Governor's sphere of influence, including Articles 163-167, 174-176, 200-201, 213, 217, and 233-234.

When the Governor reserves a bill for the consideration of the President, the assent of the Governor is no longer required, and only the President's assent is needed. The President is not required to give their assent to a state bill reserved by the Governor, and can return the bill to the state legislature for reconsideration multiple times.

The practice of replacing Governors after a new government comes to power at the national level has been discouraged by the Supreme Court of India. In 2010, the Court ruled that Governors cannot be changed arbitrarily with the change of power, and can only be replaced under "compelling" reasons, such as proven misconduct or other irregularities. In such cases, the Union government can build a file containing the reasons for a Governor's removal, which is then considered by the council of ministers headed by the Prime Minister.

While the President can return the file, they must sign the recommendation if the Cabinet reiterates its decision. The decision can be subject to judicial review on the grounds of compelling reasons for proven misconduct or other irregularities.

In summary, these articles grant the Governor significant powers and responsibilities in relation to the executive branch of the state government, and provide a framework for the exercise of these powers in various contingencies and situations.


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