Special powers to governor of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have become a cause of concern not only for the people of either state, but also for the entire nation. Some of the analysts opine that giving special powers concerning the law and order situation of Hyderabad is a sort of violation of the spirit of the Constitution of Republic of India, while others opine that it should be treated as a special case based on the clause 8 of the AP Reorganisation Act and should not be generalised as a normal case.
In this milieu there is a definite need to know about the roles and responsibilities of the state governors, according to the Constitution of Republic of India. Article 153 to Article 162 of the Constitution of India gives the entire details of the roles and responsibilities of the state governors.
The Governor who is appointed by the President of India on the advice of the Prime Minister is the chief executive authority in a state. The Governor is appointed for a period of five years, but holds the office at the pleasure of the President. He may be removed by the President before the expiry of his term or he may even resign. The following are the various powers enjoyed by the governor of any state:
- He/she is the constitutional head of the state;
- He/she appoints the leader of the majority party as the Chief Minister;
- He/she appoints the members of the council of minister on the advice of the Chief Minister;
- He/she appoints the Advocate General, Chairman and members of the respective State Public Commission;
- He/she nominates two Anglo-Indian members in the Vidhan Sabha;
- He/she can seek any information from the Chief Minister.
- He/she is a part of the state legislative and can summon, adjourn or prorogue the state legislative.
- He/she can call for a joint sitting of both the houses.
- No bill can become a law until the Governor signs it.
- He/she can withhold a bill and send it to the President for consideration.
- He/she can issue ordinances during the recess of the legislature.
- He/she can dissolve the State Assembly before the expiry of its term on the advice of the Chief Minister or as directed by the President.
- He/she causes the annual Budget to be presented in the Vidhan Sabha.
No money bill can be introduced in the Assembly without his prior approval.
- The governor appoints the district judges.
- He/she is consulted in the appointment of the judges of the High Court by the President;
- He/she can, pardon, remit and commute the sentence of a person convicted by a state court.
- He/she causes the annual budget to be laid before the Vidhan Sabha;
- No money bill can be introduced without his prior approval.
The Governor can use these powers:
- If no party gets an absolute majority, the Governor can use his discretion in the selection of the Chief Minister;
- During an emergency he can override the advice of the council of ministers. At such times, he acts as an agent of the President and becomes the real ruler of the state;
- He/she uses his direction in submitting a report to the President regarding the affairs of the state; and
- He/she can withhold his assent to a bill and send it to the President for his approval.
If we clearly go through the above roles and responsibilities bestowed upon the governor, nowhere the special powers like control over the law and order situation of a state is bestowed upon the state governor. The quandary is whether the AP Reorganisation Act can supersede the provisions made in the Constitution of Republic of India, without undertaking any constitutional amendment. Nevertheless, Kapil Sibal, the then Union Law Minister in Rajya Sabha (on the day when the AP Reorganisation Bill was passed in Rajya Sabha) has clarified the very doubt which was raised by Arun Jaitely; and he said that an advise was sought from the Law Council, before the provision was included in the ibid bill.
Amidst many dilemmas the special powers being given to the governor of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana may be reconsidered and a provision should be made so that the governor’s intervention may be powered on a case to case basis and not as a general notion.