by | Jan 8, 2024

The role of Governor in India is pivotal within the constitutional framework, fostering a federal structure envisioned by our Constitution. Recent controversies involving Kerala’s Governor, Arif Mohammad Khan, underscore the pressing need for a nuanced understanding of the constitutional provisions that govern the conduct of these key public figures.

Why in News?

  1. Governor’s Intervention:
    • Arif Mohammad Khan’s directive to remove dissenting posters and labeling student activists as “criminals” raises questions about the permissible extent of a Governor’s involvement in local affairs.
  2. Protocol Breach:
    • The unannounced tour of Kozhikode by the Governor without prior notification raises concerns about transparency and adherence to established protocol, sparking discussions on the appropriate conduct of constitutional authorities.

Evolution of Governor’s Role in the Indian Constitution:

Rooted in the Government of India Act, 1935, Governors were initially appointed by the British Crown. Post-independence, the framers of the Indian Constitution seamlessly integrated the Governor’s position, adapting it to the principles of a new democratic setup.

Constitutional Provisions Governing Governors:

Key constitutional provisions governing Governors are succinctly outlined in the following table:

Article Provision
153 Appointment of Governors for each state
154 Executive power of the state vested in the Governor
155 Term of office for the Governor
156 Governor’s removal and impeachment proceedings
161 Governor’s power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites, or remissions
163 Council of Ministers to aid and advise the Governor
174 Dissolution of the Legislative Assembly

Committees and Reforms:

Several committees and reforms have examined the dynamics of the Governor’s role, emphasizing the delicate balance between gubernatorial discretion and elected government autonomy. Key insights from prominent committees and judgments include:

Committee/Judgment/Case Year Key Focus
Sarkaria Commission 1988 – Governor’s appointment process after consultation with the Chief Minister. – Governor’s role as a bridge, not an agent.
S.R. Bommai Judgment 1994 – Ending arbitrary dismissal of State governments. – Establishing assembly floor tests for government majority.
Venkatachaliah Commission 2002 – Recommending Governor appointment by a committee. – Governors completing terms unless resigned or removed for misbehavior.
Rameshwar Prasad v. Union of India 2006 – Judicial review for Governor’s abuse of power. – Ambiguity on immunity for extra-constitutional gestures.
Punchhi Commission 2010 – Proposing the removal of “during the pleasure of the President.” – Suggesting removal through state legislature resolution.
BP Singhal vs Union of India 2010 – Affirming the President’s authority to remove a Governor without assigning reasons. – Stipulating removal must not be arbitrary or capricious.
Nabam Rebia And Etc. vs Deputy Speaker And Ors 2016 – Affirming Governor’s duties, distinct from functions. – Clarifying Article 163 limitations on discretionary power.
NCT of Delhi v. Union of India 2018 – Emphasizing the importance of constitutional morality. – Placing responsibilities on constitutional officeholders.
Kaushal Kishor v. State of Uttar Pradesh 2023 – Acknowledging the freedom of expression for public functionaries with reasonable restrictions.

Constitutional Morality and Governor’s Conduct:

The concept of constitutional morality, highlighted in the NCT of Delhi v. Union of India (2018) case, is critical in assessing a Governor’s behavior. Recent actions by Arif Mohammad Khan in Kerala raise questions about the alignment of his conduct with constitutional values and responsibilities.


The Governor’s role transcends mere ceremonial duties, holding significant constitutional responsibilities. Reflecting on recent events in Kerala, it becomes imperative to ensure that Governors adhere to constitutional morality, exercising their powers judiciously while upholding the principles of federalism and democratic governance. The ongoing discourse calls for a reexamination of the role and expectations from this constitutional office.


Source: The Hindu 

Written By Vishakha Khatri

My name is Vishakha Khatri. I am an engineering graduate and a civil service aspirant with a passion for spreading knowledge about Indian polity. I believe that understanding our political system is crucial for every citizen, and I am committed to making this information accessible to everyone in my own easy way. Through my experiences in civil service preparation and my unique perspective as an engineering graduate, I hope to inspire and educate others on the importance of Indian polity.

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