Veto power of Governor UPSC NOTE


  • In India, the Governor does not have absolute veto power over bills passed by the state legislature

  • Instead, they have a suspensive veto, which means they can delay the enactment of a bill but cannot prevent it from becoming law altogether.

The Governor has three options:

  1. Give assent: The bill becomes law.

  2. Withhold assent: The bill is sent back to the legislature for reconsideration.

  3. Reserve the bill for the consideration of the President: The bill is sent to the President of India for their assent.

  • If the Governor withholds assent, the legislature can reconsider the bill. 

  • If the legislature passes the bill again by a simple majority vote, it is sent back to the Governor. 

  • The Governor must then either give assent or reserve the bill for the consideration of the President.

The President has two options:

  1. Give assent: The bill becomes law.

  2. Withhold assent: The bill is not passed. 

  • Sometimes reserve bills for the consideration of the President. 

  • This is usually done when the Governor has concerns about the constitutionality of the bill or its compatibility with central government policies.

  • The President has absolute veto power over bills reserved for their consideration. 

  • This means that the President can prevent the bill from becoming law by withholding assent.

  • However, the President rarely uses this power.

  • Overall, the Governor's veto power in India is relatively weak. 

SC Judgement 

  • The Supreme Court has laid down the law that a Governor, in case he withholds assent to a Bill, should send it back to the State legislature “as soon as possible” with a message to reconsider the proposed law.

  • If the Assembly reiterates the Bill “with or without amendments”, the Governor has no choice or discretion, and has to give his assent to it.

  • The November 10 judgment released on Thursday was based on a petition filed by the Punjab government against its Governor’s action to hold back crucial Bills. The verdict would be a significant boost to Tamil Nadu’s case.

  • The Tamil Nadu Assembly had returned 10 crucial Bills to Governor R.N. Ravi, who had withheld assent in the first instance. 

  • The substantive part of Article 200 empowers the Governor to withhold assent to the Bill. 

  • In such an event, the Governor must mandatorily follow the course of action which is indicated in the first proviso of communicating to the State Legislature ‘as soon as possible’ a message warranting the reconsideration of the Bill...,” a three-judge Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, held.

Who is the Ultimate authority

  • The ultimate decision on whether or not to accept the advice of the Governor as contained in the message belongs to the legislature alone.

  • That the message of the Governor does not bind the legislature is evident from the use of the expression ‘if the Bill is passed again …with or without amendments’,” the Bench held.

  • The court held that a Governor who chooses to withhold a Bill without doing anything further would be acting in contravention of the Constitution. 

  • The Governor as the unelected Head of State would be in a position to virtually veto the functioning of the legislative domain by a duly elected legislature by simply declaring that assent is withheld without any further recourse.

  • Such a course of action would be contrary to fundamental principles of a constitutional democracy based on a Parliamentary pattern of governance,” the court held.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Veto power of Governor UPSC NOTE
Veto power of Governor UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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