Role of Governor

Why in the News Governor?

Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Punjab filed cases in the Supreme Court recently challenging the pending legislation of their respective governor.

  • Regarding the eight bills that the Assembly enacted, the Kerala government has accused the Governors of being inactive, as certain bills have been pending with the Governors for more than two years.
  • The Punjab Governors withheld three money bills from Punjab.
  • The Tamil Nadu appeal lists twelve measures that are still waiting before the governance, in addition to the hold-up in authorizing the investigation’s transfer to the CBI in many cases.

Constitutional Provisions for Governors:

  • Provisions regarding bills: Under Article 200, the assent of the Governors is necessary for a bill to become a law. In this regard, the Governors has been given some options:


  • In addition, the governors can also reserve the bill if it is of the following nature:
    • Ultra-vires, that is, against the provisions of the Constitution.
    • Opposed to the Directive Principles of State Policy.
    • Against the larger interest of the country.
    • Of grave national importance.
    • Dealing with compulsory acquisition of property.
  • Discretionary powers: Article 163 states that except when required to exercise his/her functions in his/her discretion, the Governors is bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. If any question arises whether the Governors is required to act in his/her discretion, the decision of the Governors in that regard is final.
    • However, the Supreme Court in Nabam Rebia case (2016) held that if a governors exercised his discretion beyond his jurisdiction or power, it would fall under the subject matter of judicial review.
    • SR Bommai Case (1994): The court held that the Governor’s power should be exercised in rare and exceptional circumstances and that the subjective satisfaction of the Governors should be open to judicial review.

Recent Judgements of Governor:

  • The Supreme Court clarified in the Vice Chancellor Case (2023) that governors acting in their official role as University Chancellor are not constrained by the support and counsel of the Council of Ministers.
  • State of Punjab Case (2023): A governor must send a measure back to the legislature for reconsideration if they choose not to sign it into law. The Governor cannot retain such a measure permanently. According to Article 200, the Governor has just three alternatives: giving assent, withholding assent, or referring to the President. The Supreme Court noted that the Governor cannot exercise another option after using one of these options.
  • The Supreme Court ruled in the Tamil Nadu Governor case (2023) that the Governor cannot send laws to the President once the Assembly has re-enacted them after the Governor has declared that he will not be giving his assent.

Challenges in the functioning of Governor:

  • Pending decisions: Parliamentary democracy is disrupted and a constitutional standoff results from delays in ratifying important laws and appointments.
  • Political Interference: The governor has occasionally been charged of political prejudice, particularly in relation to the establishment of governments and the exercise of their discretionary powers.
  • Administrative inefficiency: When there is political division, tensions between the state government and the governor can occasionally result in impasses over nominations and administrative decisions.
  • Judicial burden: Conflicts resulting from the governor’s use of his or her discretionary authority or from their acts frequently give rise to legal challenges and interpretations in governance.
Recommendations of different commissions:
  • Sarkaria Commission: The Governor may only utilize their discretion in exceptional situations, such as when they believe that a bill’s contents would violate the Constitution and should instead be sent to the President for consideration.
    • In these extraordinary circumstances, the Governor shall carry out his duties under Article 200 in accordance with the ministers’ recommendations.
    • The appointee for governor need to be both an accomplished individual from outside the field and a detached outsider.
    • The governor shouldn’t represent the president and shouldn’t be removed from office just because the center-left administration wants a governor of its choosing.
  • Punchhi Commission: Within six months of a bill being offered for ratification, the governor shall make a determination.
    • It is anticipated that governors will operate impartially and without regard to politics.
    • The state legislature should enact a resolution to remove the governor, who would have a five-year fixed term.
  • Venkatachaliah Commission: When it comes to running the state on a daily basis, the governor ought to heed the Council of Ministers’ counsel.


In navigating these challenges, Governors play a crucial role in maintaining the federal structure of India while upholding constitutional values. Adhering to principles of impartiality and upholding the rule of law is vital for effective governance at the state level.