State Executive:-Governor,Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers

The Governor is the head of the state executive. He is also the representative of the Centre in  the  state.  The Governor acts as the nominal head whereas the real power lies in the hand of the  Chief Ministers of the states and the Chief Minister’s Council of Ministers.

Article 153 of the Constitution states that there shall be a Governor for each State.  One person can be appointed as Governor for two or more States. Article 154 vests the executive power of the State in the Governor.  Article 155 says that “The Governor of a State shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal”.  Article 156 provides that “The Governor shall hold office during the pleasure of the President”.  The term of the Governor is prescribed as five years.   The only qualifications for appointment as Governor are that he should be a citizen of India and must have completed the age of thirty-five years.

The powers of the Governor can be categorized as

(i) Executive powers:-Governor is the head of the State executive and The executive power of the State shall be vested in the Governor and shall be exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with this Constitution.Governor appoints 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.

(ii) Legislative powers:- Governor  has the right of addressing and sending messages, summoning, deferring and dissolving the State Legislature. The Governor inaugurates the state legislature and the first session of each year, by addressing the Assembly, outlining the new administrative policies of the ruling government.The Governor lays before the State Legislature, the annual financial statement and also makes demands for grants and recommendation of ‘Money Bills’.The Governor constitutes the State Finance Commission. He also holds the power to make advances out of the Contingency Fund of the State in the case of any unforeseen circumstances.All bills passed by the Legislative Assembly become a law, only after the Governor approves them. In case it is not a money bill, the Governor holds the right to send it back to the Vidhan Sabha for reconsideration. But if the Vidhan Sabha sends back the Bill to the Governor the second time, then he has to sign it.The  Governor  has  the  power  to  reserve  certain  bills  for  the President. The Governor has the power to promulgate an ordinance when the Legislative Assembly is not in session, and a law has to be brought into effect immediately. However, the ordinance is presented in the state legislature in the next session, and remains operative for a total of six weeks, unless it is approved by the legislature.


(iii) Financial powers:-Money bills in the State legislature cannot be introduced without prior recommendation of the Governor.  Governor ensures that the Budget of the state is laid before the assembly every year. The “Contingency Fund of the state” is maintained and administered by the Governor of the state. Governor can advance money out of it for meeting unforeseen expenditures, but the money has to be recuperated with the authority of the state legislature. The Governor of the state receives the report of the States auditor general pertaining to the accounts of the legislature and puts it before the state legislature.

(iv) Judicial powers:-Under Article.161, Governor has the power to grant pardon, reprieve or remission of punishment or to  suspend,  remit or  commute  the  sentences  of  any  person,  convicted  of  any  offence against any law relating to the matter which the executive authority of the state extends.

(v) discretionary powers:-When no party gets a majority in the Legislative Assembly, the Governor can either ask the leader of the single largest party or the consensus leader of two or more parties (that is, a coalition party) to form the government. The Governor then appoints the leader of the largest party as Chief Minister.

Constitution of Indian under article 163 states that  There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions, except in so far as he is by or under this Constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion.Chief Minister is the head of the government in the State. The Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister as its head exercises real authority at the State level. The Council of Ministers has the following categories of ministers: Cabinet Ministers, Minister of State and Deputy Ministers.

The Chief Minister is the link between the Governor and the council of ministers. He is required to communicate to the Governor the workings of the various wings of the government. Similarly, the advice and suggestions of the Governor are communicated to the council of ministers by the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister has a pivotal role in the financial matters of a state, including the budget, basic infrastructural and developmental priorities of the state, financial planning and economic growth of the state and others.

Functions and powers of Council of Ministers:-

(1) Formulation State Policies. The Council of Ministers has the responsibility of formulating and determining the policies of the state. All the policies are discussed and decided upon by it.
(2) Running Administration. The ministers are responsible for the running the administration of the State in accordance with the policies of the government and the laws passed by the legislature.
(3) Appointment – making powers. The Cabinet, in fact the Chief Minister, makes all appointments in the state. All the appointments of the high dignitaries of the state made by the Governor on the advice of the State Council of Ministers.
(4) Law Making. It is the ministry which really decides the legislative programme. Most of the bills are introduced by the ministers in the state legislature. The Governor summons, prorogues and dissolve the State Legislature upon the advice of the Council of Ministers.

Functions of The Chief Minister:-

  • Chief Minister is the real head of the State Government. Ministers are appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister. The Governor allocates portfolios to the ministers on the advice of the Chief Minister.
  • Chief Minister presides over the Cabinet meetings. He/she coordinates the functioning of different ministries. He/she guides the functioning of the Cabinet.
  • Chief Minister plays a key role in framing the laws and policies of the State Government. Bills are introduced by the ministers in the State legislature with his/her approval. He/she is the chief spokesman of the policies of his government both inside and outside the State Legislature.
  • The Constitution provides that the Chief Minister shall communicate to the Governor all decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to the administration and the affairs of the State and proposals for legislation.
  • The Chief Minister furnishes such information relating to the administration of the affairs of the State and proposals for legislation as the Governor may call for.
  • If the Governor so requires, the Chief Minister submits for consideration of the Council of Ministers any matter on which a decision has been taken by a minister but which has not been considered by the Cabinet.
  • The Chief Minister is the sole link of communication between the Cabinet and the Governor. The Governor has the right to be informed by the Chief Minister about the decisions taken by the Council of Ministers.


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