The role of the Governor in legislature
Recently, Tamil Nadu Governor R. N. Ravi’s delay in providing assent to certain Bills has triggered concerns, echoing a broader issue faced by Governors in Telangana, Punjab, and Kerala. The Supreme Court has expressed discontent over such delays, raising questions about the role of Governors in the legislative process. Exploring the constitutional framework and recommendations by commissions becomes essential in understanding and addressing this issue.
GS-02 (Indian Polity)
- Role of Governor
- Article 153 to Article 164
- Article 200
- Analyze the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Governor’s discretionary powers and its impact on the relationship between the Governor and the Council of Ministers. (150 words)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Constitutional Provisions
- The Discretionary powers
- Article 200
- Article 201
- Article 361
- Article 153 explicitly mandates the presence of a Governor for each State, allowing the appointment of one individual as Governor for multiple States.
- The President appoints the Governor through a warrant under their hand and seal, with the Governor serving at the pleasure of the President, as stated in Articles 155 and 156.
- Article 161 empowers the Governor to grant pardons, reprieves, and similar measures. However, the Supreme Court clarified that the Governor’s sovereign power to pardon aligns with the consensus of the State government, emphasizing the government’s advice as binding for the Head of the State.
- Article 163 establishes a council of ministers led by the Chief Minister to aid and advise the Governor in performing duties, excluding situations where discretion is permitted.
The Discretionary powers:
- The appointment of a Chief Minister in the absence of a clear majority in the state legislative assembly
- Addressing no-confidence motions
- Dealing with the failure of constitutional machinery in the State (Article 356)
- Article 200 of the Indian Constitution delineates the procedure when a Bill from the Legislative Assembly is presented to the Governor for assent.
- The Governor can either assent, withhold assent, or reserve the Bill for the President’s consideration.
- Additionally, the Governor has the authority to return the Bill with a message, requesting reconsideration by the House or Houses.
- In the Purushothaman Nambudiri v State of Kerala case, the Supreme Court clarified that a pending bill awaiting the Governor’s assent doesn’t lapse upon the dissolution of the House.
- The absence of a time limit in Articles 200 and 201 indicates the framers’ intention to prevent bills awaiting assent from lapsing.
- Article 200’s second provision grants the Governor the discretion to refer a bill to the President if it potentially infringes upon the High Court’s powers. The process for presidential assent is outlined in Article 201.
- In the Shamsher Singh case, the Court affirmed that the Governor’s authority to reserve bills for the President’s consideration is a manifestation of discretionary power.
- Article 201 specifies that when a Bill is reserved for the President’s consideration, the President may either assent to or withhold assent from the Bill.
- The President can also direct the Governor to return the Bill to the State Legislature for reconsideration.
- Under Article 361 of the Constitution, the Governor enjoys complete immunity from court proceedings for any actions taken in the exercise of their powers.