Privileges, Powers and Functions of the Governor
Privileges of 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.
• He is immune to any criminal proceeding what so ever shall be instituted or continued against the Governor of a State, in any court during his term of office.
• No process for the arrest or imprisonment of the Governor of a state shall issue from any court during his term of office.
• No civil proceedings, in which relief is claimed against the Governor of a State, shall be instituted during his term of office in any court in respect of any act purporting to be done by him in his personal capacity.
• After giving two months notice, civil proceeding can be instituted against him during his term of office in respect of his personal act.
Powers and Functions of the Governor
The Governor is the Chief Executive authority in a state. The Governor enjoys Executive, Legislative, Financial, Discretionary and Judicial Powers which are as follows-
The Governor is the Executive Head of the State. He is the Nominal Executive Head like the President. He may exercise this power either directly or through officers subordinate to him. Article 162 states that the Executive Power of the State extends to matters with respect to which the legislature of the state has power to make laws. Article 166(1) requires that all executive actions of the Government of the state is expressed to be taken in the name of the Governor.
Appointments by the Governor
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.
The Governor Summons the Session of both Houses of the State Legislature and prorogues them. The Governor inaugurates the State Legislature by addressing it after the assembly elections and also at the beginning of the first session every year.
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 for reconsideration, if it is not a Money Bill. However, if the State Legislature sends it back to the Governor for the second time, the Governor has to give his assent to it.
The Governor has the power to reserve certain Bills for the President under Article 200. When, the State Legislature is not in session and the Governor considers it necessary to have a law, then the Governor can promulgate ordinances as per article 213.
These ordinances are submitted to the State Legislature at its nest session. They remain valid for no more than 6 weeks from the date the State Legislature is reconvened unless approved by it earlier. Under Article 171(3) (e) and (5), the Governor may nominate to the Legislative Council of the State (where it exists) one sixth members from among persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of literature, Science, art, co-operative movement and social service.
Governor may also nominate to the Legislative Assembly a person from the Anglo-Indian Community, if he feels the community needs representation and is not adequately represented in the assembly (Article 333). Governor lays, the report of State Finance Commission, the state public service Commission and Comptroller and Auditor General relating to the Accounts of the state before he State Legislature.
Money Bill can be introduced in the State Legislative Assembly only on the prior recommendation of the Governor. He/she 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/her recommendations. 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.
• Article 163(1) provides that the Governor is to act in accordance with the advice of the Council of Ministers expect 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(2) clarifies that, if any question arises whether any matter is or is not a matter of discretion of the Governor, the decision of the Governor is final and the validity of anything done by the Governor shall not be called in question o the ground.
• Article 200 empowers the Governor to Reserve Bills, having been passed by the house or the Houses of the State Legislature, as the case may be, for the consideration of the President.
The Punchhi Commission Report has recommended that a Constitutional Amendment be brought about to limit the scope of discretionary powers of the Governor under article 163 (2). Governors should not sit on decisions and must decide matters within a 4 months period. Other discretionary powers are as follows-
– Recommendation for the imposition of the President’s rule in the state.
– While exercising his functions as the administrator of an adjoining Union Territory (in case of additional charge).
– Appointment of the Chief Minister when no party has clear cut majority in the State Legislature.
– Seeking information from the Chief Minister with regard to the administration and legislative matters of the State.
– Dismissal of the Council of Ministers when it cannot prove the confidence of the State Legislative Assembly.
– Dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly, if the Council of Ministers has lost its majority.
– Determining the amount payable by the State of Assam to the autonomous tribal District Council as royalty accruing from licenses for mine exploration.