Discretionary Powers of Governor

Discretionary Powers of Governor

#GS-02 Governance, Federalism, Indian Constitution

For Prelims

Constitutional Provisions

Article 154

  • It declares that “the executive power of the State shall be vested in the Governor and shall be exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with this Constitution.”

Article 163

  • It declares that “there shall be a council of Ministers with the chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions, except in so far as he is by or under this constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion.”
Article 163 Clause 2
  • It states that “if any question arises whether any matter is or is not a matter as respects which the Governor is by or under this Constitution required to act in his discretion, the decision of the Governor in his discretion shall be final.”
Nabam Rebia vs Deputy Speaker (2016)
  • The 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1976, which had made ministerial advice binding on the President made no such provision with regards to the Governor.
  • Supreme Court in that Nabam Rebia vs Deputy Speaker case declared that Article 163 does not give the Governor a “general discretionary power to act against or without the advice of his council of ministers”.

Article 200

  • Article 200 deals with the powers of the Governor in relation to assent given to bills passed by the State legislature.
  • It also talks about other powers of the Governor such as reserving the bill for the President’s consideration.

According to Article 200, when a Bill, passed by the Legislature of a State, is presented to the Governor, he can:

  • give assent to the Bill
  • withhold assent to the Bill
  • reserve the Bill for the consideration of the President
  • return the Bill to the Legislature for reconsideration.

However, the article does not prescribe a timeline for the Governor to give assent to Bills sent by the State legislature.

Article 201

  • Article 201 relates to ‘Bills Reserved for the Consideration of President’.
  • Like in Article 200, Article 201 also fails to provide a time limit for the consideration of President.
  • However, there is a limit of six months applicable to the State Legislature to reconsider the Bill if the President decides to refer it back to the House.
Purushothaman Nambudiri vs State of Kerala (1962):
  • Supreme Court declared that the Constitution does not impose any time limit within which the Governor should provide assent to Bills.
  • However, the Court has reiterated that the Governor must honour the will of the Legislature and that the President or a Governor should act in harmony with their Council of Ministers.

Source “A Governor and a Chief Minister at loggerheads

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