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Indian Polity, Study Materials

State Executive

Articles 153 to 167 in Part VI of the Constitution deal with the state executive.


  • The state executive consists of the Governor, The Chief Minister, The Council of Ministers and the Advocate General of the State.
  • Usually, there is a Governor for each state, but the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1956 facilitated the appointment of the same person as a Governor for two or more states.
  • He is appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.
  • A Governor holds office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office.
  • He can resign at any time by addressing a resignation letter to the President.

Powers and Functions of Governor

A. Executive Powers

Governor being the head of the state executive, all executive action is expressed to be taken in the name of the Governor.


  • The Chief Minister and other ministers with the advice of the Chief Minister. He has to appoint the leader of the party having absolute majority in the legislative assembly as the Chief Minister. However, in case of no party having a clear-cut majority in the House, the Governor may use his discretion.
  • Advocate-General
  • Chairman and the members of the State Public Service Commission.
  • Members of the subordinate judiciary (District Judge and below).
  • Vice-Chancellors of state universities.
  • The Governor is the Chancellor of the universities run by the state.
  • Though the Governor has no power to appoint the Judges of the state High Court, he may be consulted by the President in such an appointment.

B. Legislative powers

The Governor is a part of the legislature (Art. 168). In this capacity he performs the following legislative functions:

  • To summon, prorogue and dissolve the legislative Assembly.
  • Right to address the legislature and to send messages to it.
  • No Bill can become a law unless the Governor gives assent to it. He can give his assent, withhold his assent or use the pocket veto to a state Bill.
  • He nominates one member of the Anglo-Indian community to the state assembly and one-sixth of the members of the legislative council from among persons having special experience in art, science, literature, social service or cooperative movement.

Art. 200: Assent to Bills

  • When a Bill has been passed by the Legislature of a State, it shall be presented to the Governor who may accept or reject the Bill.
  • In the case of Bills other than Money Bills, he may return to the legislature for reconsideration.
  • The Governor may also reserve the Bill for consideration of the President.
  • When a Bill is returned to the legislature by the Governor, it must be passed again to be accepted by the Governor.
  • In essence as per the Article 200, when a Bill passed by the Legislature of a State is presented to the Governor, he has four option:
    • he assents to the Bill when it becomes an Act
    • he withholds assent
    • he returns the Bill to the Legislature for reconsideration
    • he reserves time Bill for the consideration of the President

Art. 201 Bills reserved for consideration

  • When a Bill is reserved by a Governor for the consideration of the President, the President shall declare either that he assents to the Bill or that he withholds assent in case of a Money Bill.
  • In other Bills, he may return the Bill for repassage— the third option for the President.
  • The repassed Bill need not be assented to by the President and he may return it again and again. Thus, it is an absolute veto
  • Also, there is no time limit within which the President should take a decision.
  • There have been instances where Bills have been pending with the President for periods up to six years or more.
  • The most recent Bill to be reserved by the Governor for the Presidential assent is the GUJCOC Bill Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Bill for which the President has expressed the need for three changes and returned it.

C. Financial Power

  • He causes to be laid before the legislature Annual Financial Statement (Art-202)
  • Money bills cannot be introduced in the State Legislative Assembly without the prior permission of the Governor.
  • The annual and supplementary budgets are introduced in the Assembly in the name of the Governor.
  • No demand for grant can be made except on his recommendation.
  • The Governor has the control over the State Contingency Fund, without his assent the fund cannot be drawn upon.

D. Judicial Power

  • He is consulted by the President while appointing judges to the State High Court.
  • According to Article 161, the Governor possesses the power to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law to which the executive power of state extends. 
  • Pardon: completely absolve offender from all punishments.
  • Reprieves: stay on the execution of the sentence for a temporary period.
  • Respite: awarding lesser punishment on special grounds.
  • Remission: reduction of sentence without changing its character
  • Commutation: Substitution of one form of punishment for another form which is of a lighter character.

E. Discretionary powers of the Governor

  • Art. 163 – There shall be a Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister to aid and advise the Governor and the Governor shall exercise his powers according to such advice except where the Constitution requires him to act in his discretion.
  • There are two types of situations in which the Governor is expected to use his discretion:
  • Those, which are implied by the nature of Parliamentary democracy and the Constitution.
  • Those where the Constitution has expressly imposed special responsibility on the Governor.

Special Responsibility Powers of Governor

  • Art. 371 (1) – Special responsibility of the Governor of Maharashtra and Gujarat for the establishment of development boards for Vidarbha, Marathwada, Saurashtra and Kutch, etc.
  • Art. 371A – Special responsibility of the Governor of Nagaland with respect to law and order so long as internal disturbances occur in some area of the state. To establish a regional council for Tuensang district to arrange for equitable allocation of Money between Tuensang district and the rest of Nagaland.
  • Art. 371 C (1) – Special responsibility of the Governor of Manipur to secure the proper functioning of a committee of the members of the legislative Assembly consisting of the members representing the hill area.
  • Art. 371F (g) – Special responsibility of the Governor of Sikkim for the peace and for an equitable arrangement for ensuring the advancement of different sections of the population of Sikkim.
  • Art. 371H (a) – Special responsibility of the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh with respect to law and order.
  • The 6th Schedule provides that the Governor of Assam shall determine the amount payable by the state of Assam to the district council as royalty accruing form licenses for minerals.

Chief Minister and Council of Minister

  • In parliamentary system of government provided by the Constitution, the Governor is the nominal executive authority and the Chief Minister is the real executive
  • Before the Chief Minister enters his office, The Governor administers to him the oaths of office and secrecy.


  • The Constitution does not contain any specific procedure for the selection and appointment of the Chief Minister
  • Article 164 only says that the Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor.
  • The Governor has to appoint the leader of the majority party in the state legislative assembly as the Chief Minister.
  • But, when no party has a clear majority in the assembly, then the Governor may exercise his personal discretion in the selection and appointment of the Chief Minister.
  • The Governor may have to exercise his individual judgement in the selection and appointment of the Chief Minister when the Chief Minister in office dies suddenly and there is no obvious successor.
  • A person who is not a member of the state legislature can be appointed as Chief Minister for six months, within which time, he should be elected to the state legislature, failing which he ceases to be the Chief Minister.

Powers and Functions of Chief Minister

  1. In Relation to Council of Ministers
    • The Governor appoints only those persons as ministers who are recommended by the Chief Minister.
    • He allocates and reshuffles the portfolios among Ministers.
    • He can ask a Minister to resign or advise the Governor to dismiss him in case of difference of opinion.
    • He presides over the meetings of the Council of Ministers and influences its decisions.
    • He guides, directs, controls and coordinates the activities of all the Ministers.
    • He can bring about the collapse of the Council of Ministers by resigning from office. Since the Chief Minister is the head of the Council of Ministers, his resignation or death automatically dissolves the Council of Ministers. The resignation or death of any other minister, on the other hand, merely creates a vacancy, which the Chief Minister may or may not like to fill.
  2. In Relation to the Governor
    • He is the principal channel of communication between the Governor and the Council of Ministers.
    • It is the duty of the Chief Minister:
      • To communicate to the Governor of the state all decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to the administration of the affairs of the state and proposals for legislation;
      • To furnish such information relating to the administration of the affairs of the state and proposals for legislation as the Governor may call for; and
      • If the Governor so requires, to submit for the 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 Council.
      • He advises the Governor with regard to the appointment of important officials like Advocate General, Chairman and members of the State Public Service Commission, State Election Commissioner, and so on.
  3. In Relation to State Legislature
    • He advises the Governor with regard to the summoning and proroguing of the sessions of the State Legislature.
    • He can recommend the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly to the Governor at any time.
    • He announces the Government policies on the floor of the house.
  4. Other Powers and Functions
    • He is the chairman of the State Planning Board.
    • He acts as a Vice-Chairman of the concerned Zonal Council by rotation, holding office for a period of one year at a time.
    • He is a member of the Inter-State Council and the National Development Council, both headed by the Prime Minister.
    • He is the Chief spokesman of the state government.
    • He is the crisis manager-in-chief at the political level during emergencies.
    • As a leader of the state, he meets various sections of the people and receives memoranda from them regarding their problems, and so on.
    • He is the political head of the services

Council of Minister

  • The total number of Ministers, including the Chief Minister, in the Council of Ministers in a state shall not exceed 15 percent of the total strength of the Legislative Assembly of that state. But, the number of Ministers, in a state shall not be less than 12 (including Chief Ministers).
  • This provision was added by the 91st Amendment Act of 2003.
  • They are determined by the Chief Minister according to the exigencies of the time and requirements of the situation.
  • The difference between them lies in their respective ranks, emoluments, and political importance. At the top of all these ministers stands the Chief Minister- supreme governing authority in the state.
  • The Cabinet Ministers head the important departments of the state government like home, education, finance, agriculture and so forth. They are members of the cabinet, attend its meetings and play an important role in deciding policies. Thus, their responsibilities extend over the entire gamut of state government.
  • The Ministers of State can either be given independent charge of departments or can be attached to Cabinet Ministers. However, they are not members of the Cabinet and do not attend the Cabinet meetings unless specially invited when something related to their departments is considered by the Cabinet.
  • Next in rank are the Deputy Ministers. They are not given independent charge of departments. They are attached to the Cabinet Ministers and assist them in their administrative, political and parliamentary duties. They are not members of the Cabinet and do not attend Cabinet meetings.


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