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Major Powers of Governor

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Source: The Hindu


Tamil Nadu and Kerala have approached the Supreme Court against Governors wielding their power to hinder the execution of decisions made by elected state governments. The two states are raising concerns about the prolonged withholding of approval for bills passed by the legislature. The states contended that powers mentioned under the Constitution of India, 1950 is not adhered to by their respective Governors.

Who is the Governor?

  • The Governor's position is established under Article 153 of the Constitution.
  • The Governor is appointed by the President of India and is the chief executive of the State.
  • In India, the Governor plays an important role in the legislative process at the state level.
  • The Governor is the Constitutional head of the state and has powers and responsibilities related to the enactment of state bills.
  • The key powers of the Governor over state bills are outlined in the Constitution of India under Article 200.

What is Article 200 of Constitution of India, 1950?

  • When a Bill has been passed by the Legislative Assembly of a State or, in the case of a State having a Legislative Council, has been passed by both Houses of the Legislature of the State, it shall be presented to the Governor.
  • And the Governor shall declare either that he assents to the Bill or that he withholds assent therefrom or that he reserves the Bill for the consideration of the President.
  • Governor may, as soon as possible after the presentation to him of the Bill for assent, return the Bill if it is not a Money Bill together with a message requesting that the House or Houses will reconsider the Bill or any specified provisions thereof and, in particular, will consider the desirability of introducing any such amendments as he may recommend in his message.
  • And, when a Bill is returned, the House or Houses shall reconsider it accordingly, and if the Bill is passed again by the House or Houses with or without amendment and presented to the Governor for assent, the Governor shall not withhold assent therefrom.
  • If the Governor has not given assent to the bill, he shall reserve it for the consideration of the President.
    • If a bill, after being presented to the Governor for assent, is reserved for the consideration of the President of India, the Governor must act according to the instructions received from the President.

What are the Other Powers of the Governor?

  • Summoning and Proroguing the State Legislature:
    • Under Article 174 of the Constitution, the Governor has the authority to summon and prorogue the sessions of the state legislature.
    • The Governor addresses the legislature at the beginning of each session, outlining the government's policies and programs.
  • Dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly:
    • Under Article 174 of the Constitution, the Governor can recommend the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly if no party or coalition is able to form a government or if the Chief Minister advises the dissolution.
    • However, this power is exercised under specific circumstances and is not entirely discretionary.
  • Special Address by Governor:
    • This power is utilized by the Governor at the commencement of the first session after each general election to the Legislative Assembly and at the commencement of the first session of each year.
    • Under Article 176 of the Constitution, the Governor shall address the Legislative Assembly or, in the case of a State having a Legislative Council, both Houses assembled together and inform the Legislature of the causes of its summons.
  • Money Bills:
    • Similar to the President's powers at the national level, the Governor's role in relation to money bills is limited.
    • The Governor can only delay the assent on which recommendations can be made, but the legislature is not bound to accept them.
  • Call for a Floor Test:
    • The Governor has the power to call for a floor test to check if the government has proper numbers or not under Article 175(2) of the Constitution.
      • Article 175 (2) states that “The Governor may sent messages to the House or Houses of the Legislature of the State, whether with respect to a Bill then pending in the Legislature or otherwise, and a House to which any message is so sent shall with all convenient dispatch consider any matter required by the message to be taken into consideration”.

What is a Floor Test?

    • It is test mentioned in the Constitution of India to prove the majority of ruling government.
    • The floor test happens to examine if the Chief Minister has confidence of other members too.
    • In the case of a coalition government the Chief Minister is asked to move a vote of confidence and win the floor test by gaining a majority.


The Governor's powers are exercised within the framework of the Constitution of India, and the role is largely ceremonial. The Governor is expected to act on the advice of the Council of Ministers led by the Chief Minister, except in situations where discretion is explicitly granted by the Constitution.