The Constitution of India provides for a parliamentary form of government in the states as in the Centre. Consequently, the governor has been made only a nominal executive, the real executive constitutes the council of ministers headed by the chief minister. In other words, the governor has to exercise his powers and functions with the aid and advise of the council of ministers headed by the chief minister, except in matters in which he is required to act in his discretion.
In estimating the constitutional position of the governor, particular reference has to be made to the provisions of Articles 154, 163 and 164. These are:
- 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 (Article 154).
- There shall be a council of ministers with the chief minister as the head to aid and advise the governor in the exercise of his functions, except in so far as he is required to exercise his functions in his discretion (Article 163).
- The council of ministers shall be collectively responsible to the legislative assembly of the state (Article 164). This provision is the foundation of the parliamentary system of government in the state.
From the above, it is clear that constitutional position of the governor differs from that of the president in the following two respects:
- While the Constitution envisages the possibility of the governor acting at times in his discretion, no such possibility has been envisaged for the President.
- After the 42nd Constitutional Amendment (1976), ministerial advice has been made binding on the President, but no such provision has been made with respect to the governor.
The Constitution makes it clear that if any question arises whether a matter falls within the governor’s discretion or not, the decision of the governor is final and the validity of anything done by him cannot be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion.