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State’s vs Governor’s Power: Supreme Court orders in the matter
The Punjab Government filed a writ petition against the Punjab’s Governor Banwarilal Purohit with allegations that the Governor has holding the crucial bills related to Sikh gurudwaras, Higher Education and police which were passed in the Budget Session of the Vidhan Sabha on June 19 and June 20,2023. These Bills are important to consider but the Governor has hold these from Budget Session, till now. In which on 10 Nov 2023 Supreme Court, a bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud says, a Governor cannot sit on these important Bills for so long and assent from the Governor must be given as soon as possible, also warned the Governor that “you are playing with fire”.
Similar cases occur in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, where both the states approached to the Supreme Court against the delay in granting the assent to Bills by their respected Governor’s. R.N. Ravi currently serving as Governor of Tamil Nadu delayed in giving the assent to the Bill for exemption from the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) to the President and Arif Mohammed Khan as Governor of Kerala delayed in giving assent to the Lokayukta Amendment Bill and Kerala University Amendment Bill.
About Governor’s: Power and Authority
- A Governor is the Executive Head of the State, who exercise its executive powers either directly or through officers subordinate to him according to the Constitution. Central Government appoints the governor for each state.
The powers and functions of Governors in India are outlined in the Constitution of India. The relevant articles that regarding to the powers of Governors are primarily found in Part VI and Part VII of the Constitution. Here are some key articles related to the powers of Governors:
Appointment of Governor:
Article 153: It states that there shall be a Governor for each state.
Article 155: The Governor of a state is appointed by the President and holds office during the pleasure of the President.
Article 156: The Governor is the executive head of the state. The article outlines the term of office of the Governor and the eligibility for reappointment.
Article 164: The Governor appoints the Chief Minister, who, in turn, appoints other ministers. The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the legislative assembly of the state.
Article 174: The Governor summons and prorogues the sessions of the state legislature and can dissolve the legislative assembly.
Article 175: The Governor addresses the state legislature at the beginning of each session and presents the government’s policies.
Article 163: It deals with the discretionary powers of the Governor. The Governor has the power to act in his discretion in certain matters, but must, in most cases, exercise his functions with the advice of the Council of Ministers.
Article 244 and 244A: These articles deal with the administration of tribal areas and provide for the appointment of Governors for certain tribal areas.
Role in President’s Rule:
Article 356: The President can assume the functions of the state government on the Governor’s report if there is a failure of the constitutional machinery in the state.
These articles collectively establish the constitutional framework for the powers and functions of Governors in India.
Power and Authority of Governor related to Bills
The power of the Governor over state bills in India is outlined in the Constitution of India. The Governor’s role in the legislative process involves giving assent to bills passed by the state legislature. Here are the relevant provisions regarding the Governor’s power over state bills:
Assent to Bills
Article 200: This article deals with the assent to bills by the Governor. It states that when a bill is presented to the Governor after being passed by the state legislature, he can:
- Give his assent to the bill.
- Withhold his assent to the bill (subject to certain conditions).
Reservation of Bills for President’s Consideration
Article 201: If a bill is reserved for the consideration of the President, the Governor cannot give his assent to it until the President has given his assent.
Discretionary Power to Withhold Assent:
The Governor’s power to withhold assent to a bill is discretionary, but there are limitations. The Governor is required to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers with respect to bills other than those that fall under the Governor’s discretionary powers. This principle is established by constitutional conventions and the Supreme Court’s rulings.
Disagreement Between Houses:
Article 200(4): If the two Houses of the state legislature disagree regarding a bill, and if the Governor has not already given his assent, he can either direct the Houses to reconsider it or can reserve it for the consideration of the President.
It’s important to note that while the Governor has the power to withhold assent to certain bills, the exercise of this power is circumscribed by the constitutional requirement to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, except in matters where the Governor is explicitly given discretion.
States Arguments with regarding Bills
Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Punjab all these states urged that the Governor’s assent to the Bills should be given within the respected time which will help them to functions in accordance with the Constitution within certain framework. The Governor’s are using inappropriate technique by delaying their assent to the presented Bills before them, which is creating issues to state government. Due to which the state government approaches to the Apex Court.
The Supreme Court shall made certain restrictions on the time frame given to provide the assent on the Bills by the Governors and shall consider their power and authorities towards it.
The Governor’s role in the legislative process is a crucial part of the checks and balances in India’s federal system, ensuring that state legislation aligns with the constitutional framework and national interests.
Author: Atharv Yadav