Under the Constitution of India, the machinery of the State Government is the same as that of the Central Government. Like the Union Government, the State Governments are also formed on the parliamentary pattern.
The Governor is the chief executive of a State in India. The powers and functions of the Governor of Indian State resembles that of the President of the Union Government. Like the President, the Governor is also a constitutional ruler, a nominal figure. He is not a real functionary. Generally speaking, the Governor acts on the advice of the Council of Ministers
The Governor is appointed by the President of India. He holds office during the pleasure of the President. Under the Constitution of India, the Governor of a State possesses wide powers and functions – executive, legislative, financial and judicial.
Let us now discuss the powers and functions of the Governor of an Indian State.
1. Executive: The Executive power of the State is vested in the Governor. He exercises this power either directly or through the officers who are subordinate to him. All executive actions of the State are taken in the name of the Governor.
An important function of the Governor is to appoint the Chief Minister of the State. Other ministers are also appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister. The ministers including the Chief Minister hold office during the pleasure of the Governor.
He has also the power to appoint the higher officers of the State including the Advocate-General and the members of the State Public Service Commission. He has also a share in the appointment of the Judges of High Court.
He is responsible for the administration of the welfare schemes of the scheduled castes and other backward class. He may appoint a minister for this purpose. The Governor has the constitutional right to know the decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to the administrative affairs of the State and the proposals for legislation. But like the President of the Union, the Governor has no diplomatic or military power.
2. Legislative: Governor is an integral and indispensable part of the State Legislature. In some States, the State Legislature consists of the Governor and one House, the Legislative Assembly, while in other it consists of the Governor and the two Chambers known as the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council. The Governor possesses the powers to summon and prorogue the Houses of the State Legislature. He can also dissolve the Lower House—the Legislative Assembly—before the expiry of its term.
The Governor has been authorized by the Constitution to deliver an address to the State Legislature at the commencement of the first session of each year. He has also the power to send message to the State Legislature. The Governor has to nominate one member to Legislature. The Governor has to nominate one member to Legislature Assembly from the Anglo-Indian Community and also members to the Legislative Council (where it exists) from among the persons who have acquired special knowledge in art, literature, science, social service and co-operative movement.
In a State, a public bill cannot become an Act without the approval of the Governor. A bill passed by the State Legislature is presented to the Governor for his assent. The Governor may give his assent to the bill. Or he may withhold his assent from the bill. If the bill is again passed by the House or Houses of the State Legislature, the Governor is to give assent to the bill. He may also reserve certain bill for the assent of the President. This is an important function of the Governor of an Indian State.
When the State Legislature is not in session, the Governor may issue an Ordinance. It has same force as the law of the State Legislature. But it must be placed before the Legislature when it assembles again. If it is approved by the State Legislature, it will cease to operate after six weeks of the date of meeting of the State Legislature.
3. Financial: The Governor has also financial powers and functions. No money-bill can be originated in the State Legislature without the recommendation of the Governor. In every year, the budget is laid before the State Legislature by the Governor. No proposals for taxation or expenditure can be made without the approval of the Governor.
4. Judicial: The Governor also exercises judicial powers. He has the power to grant pardons, reprieves or remissions of punishment to any person who has been convicted by courts of law. He has also a great share in the appointment of the judges of the subordinate courts.
Besides, the Governor of a State also enjoys discretionary powers. As for example, the Governor of Assam can exercise the administration of the tribal areas independently of his ministry. Again, the Governor of a State when he is appointed as the administrator of an adjoining Union Territory may exercise his function without the advice of the Council of Ministers.
It is true that Governor is constitutional ruler and a nominal figure. But he is not a magnificent cipher or a rubber stamp. The Governor enjoys wide powers in executive, legislative and financial spheres. He can exercise certain powers in his own discretion. The Governor has the power to advise to encourage and to warn the ministry irrespective of their party colors. The office of the Governor depends upon the personality and ability of the person who occupies it. If the Governor is a man of strong personality, he can easily influence his ministry. A weak and lazy Governor, on the other hand; will be influenced by the ministry. He will them exercise the functions according to the directions issued by the Council of Ministers.