Governor of Indian State: Eligibility, Appointment, Tenure and Conditions of Office

The provisions related to state executive are in articles 153 to 167. The state executive is made of Governor, Chief Minister, Council of Ministers and Advocate General. The executive authority of a state is vested in the Governor; and Governor is the constitutional head of the state in the same way as President is the Constitutional head of the Union. The Constitution had provided a Governor for each state but in 1956, the 7th amendment provided for appointment of same person for two or more states.

Appointment of Governor

The Governor is appointed and not elected directly or indirectly. The framers of the constitution initially wanted an arrangement for an elected Governor of each state, very much like the governors of the US states. But the idea was dropped because of below mentioned reasons:

  • If the Governor of the state is elected directly by the people of the state, his position would not be a “Constitutional Head” and will be that of a “Real Head”. This can result in a friction between the council of ministers in the state and the governor.
  • If the Governor of the state is elected by the elected representatives of the state assembly, there are possibilities that the Governor rather than being impartial may become the pawn of the political parties that suggest his/ her victory in the Governor’s elections.
  • Governor in a state in India is actually an agent of the President and a servant of the Union of India. In case there is any conflict between the state and the centre, a directly or indirectly elected Governor may not prove to be an obedient servant of the Union. This would be inconsistent with the Idea of a strong centre in the country.
  • Governor is expected to be an impartial and independent mediator for the rival factions in the state and this can be done only when Governor is a nominee of the President.

Thus, the method of appointment of Governor has removed the evils which would have resulted from any of the alternative methods. The office of Governor is modeled as much like the provincial Governors of Canada who are appointed by the Governor General of Canada and hold the office during his pleasure.

Eligibility

Constitution makes only two eligibility conditions in appointment of Governor. First, he should be a citizen of India and second, he should have completed 35 years of age. Apart from that, it’s up to President {practically Central Government} to decide who can be appointed as Governor.

Should Governor be outsider?

Governor is generally outsider and does not belong to the state in which he holds the office. This is a convention not constitutional requirement. Its objective is to keep governor free from local politics. Since it’s not an eligibility condition, a person can be appointed as Governor in home state if the president {centre} wants to do so.

Is Consultation with Chief Minister needed in appointment of Governor?

No, it’s not needed.

Conditions of Office

The Governor should not be member of any house of the parliament. If an MP is appointed as Governor, he needs to vacate his seat. He also should not hold any other office of profit. His salary, allowances and other privileges are defined by parliamentary law. Parliament enacted the Governors (Emoluments, Allowances and Privileges) Act, 1982 in this context.

Apart from the free residence, medical facilities and other allowances, a Governor of the state in India currently draws a salary of Rs. 1,10,000 per month.  Salary and Allowances of the Governor are charged expenditures from the Consolidated Fund of the State.  If same person is appointed as governor of more than one states, the salary etc. are shared by the concerned states.

Immunities and Privileges

A Governor enjoys personal immunity from legal liabilities for his official acts. When he is in office, he is immune from criminal proceedings even in respect of the personal acts. He cannot be arrested or imprisoned. Civil proceedings against him can be launched against him during his term for his personal acts only after giving two months notice.

Oath

Before entering upon his office, the governor needs to subscribe to an oath to faithfully execute his office and to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution, much like President. The oath is administered by Chief Justice of State High Court.

Tenure

Although the governor holds office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his

Office, yet this term is subject to pleasure of president. The “doctrine of pleasure” has always been used to drop governors any time and thus, Governors have no security of tenure. Further, a governor can resign from the office by addressing resignation to President.

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