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Governor’s Rights –Against the state?


Governor is the executive head of the state. Thus, all the executive powers of the state are vested with him. Recently, a question mark has been raised on his discretionary power. Four states had taken shelter under the SC to check on the misuse of the power by the Governor. Governors of states viz. Punjab, Kerala, Telangana & Tamil Nadu withheld the bills of the state Government. Though Governor is the executive head but real head of the state is the Chief Minister.


Constitution provides the governor with some Legislative powers regarding the bills. Article 200 states that Governor can (a) grant asset to bill, (b) withhold the bill, (c) return the bill or (d) reserve for consideration by President.

How long a Governor can withhold the bill?

Article 200 reads as follows: “When a bill has been passed by the Legislative Assembly of a State, it shall be the presented to the governor and the Governor shall declare either that he assents to the bill or that he withholds the assent there from or that he reserves the bill for consideration of the President.”

Hence, article 200 uses the word “shall” which indicates the mandatory function of the governor. Moreover, Rule 102(1) mentions that governor must consider or return the bill of the state with recommendation and speaker must inform it in the session.

Can the Governor use his discretionary power?

Governor is provided with various discretionary powers according to the Indian Constitution. However, according to Shamsher Singh case (1974) it was stated that Union and state executives to exercise the power with accordance to aid & advice of the council of ministers. Hence, withholding the bill is a discretionary power to the Governor as the advice of ministers are non-binding to him.

Recommendations by the Commissions

Sarkaria commission (1987) has mentioned that reservation of bill for the President can be done when it is necessary. Additionally, Punchhi Commission (2010) states that Governor must take a decision within six months if a bill is presented to him by the State Legislatures.

How to resolve these issues?

India is a Federal country with Unitary bias. This can be easily concluded by the grey office of the Governor who acts as a nominee of the Central Government. Furthermore, central Govt. can check the State govt. with the help of this office, which hampers the Federal nature of the nation. Withheld of bill by the governor is being observed in such states where the state Govt is from the opponent party of the Central. Justice DY Chandrachud had given the time to RN Ravi, the governor of Tamil Nadu to made his statement. 1st Dec, 2023 the hearing will start. SC had come into play in order to resolve this matter.


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