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Powers of Lieutenant Governor in India

Posted by Manoj Vats on January 31, 2015 | Comment

The Lieutenant Governor plays a significant constitutional role. The Indian Constitution has bestowed similar powers and functions on the Governors and Lt. Governors as enjoyed by the President of India. In India, the rank of Lt. Governor is present in the Union Territories (UTs) of Delhi (which is a state too), Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry.

Powers of Lieutenant Governor in India

Role and Functions of Lieutenant Governor

Like Governor, Lt. Governor acts as the titular head of the UT whereas the real power is exercised by the chief minister (CM) and his council of ministers.

In the Articles 239 and 239AA of the Constitution of India, the functions, powers and duties of the Lt. Governor are defined clearly. He is a representative of the President and acts on the aid and recommendation of the council of ministers.

The provisions of Article 239B apply in relation to the National Capital Territory of Delhi, as they apply in relation to the UTs of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry.

Role of Lt. Governor in Delhi

The Sec. 41 of the GNCT (Government of National Capital Territory) of Delhi Act, 1991 clarifies that the Lieutenant Governor shall act in his discretion during a matter that falls outside the range of the powers conferred on the Legislative Assembly.

 If the Lt. Governor is under any law required to act in his discretion, his decision on that case will be final. In respect of matters regarding Police, Public Order and Land, the Lt. Governor exercises his authority to the extent delegated to him by the President. He exercises his authority with the help of Police Commissioner of Delhi and Vice Chairperson, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) who have their independent administrative setups.

Lt. Governor is Ex-officio Chairman of DDA, however he exercises his executive functions through Appellate Authority under various Acts/Rules/Regulations as applicable in Delhi.

In  the  case of difference  of  opinion  between  the Lieutenant  Governor  and his Ministers on any matter, the Lt. Governor  can refer  it  to  the President  for decision  and  act according  to decision  given on that by the President.

 The post of Lt. Governor was first established in September 1966 after the Delhi Administration Act, 1966 came into effect. At the commencement of the primary session after each election to the Assembly and at the commencement of the first session of every year, the Lt. Governor addresses the House. 

Discretionary Powers of Lt. Governor

The Lt. Governor uses his discretionary powers in certain situations. In the legislative assembly elections if no party secures a majority, the Lt. Governor has the authority to act on his own and ask the leader of the single largest party or the chosen leader of two or more parties to form the government. In that case, Lt. Governor appoints that leader as the Chief Minister. If due to improper administration, the state machinery breaks down, the Lt. Governor can send a report to the President, recommending imposition of President’s Rule in the state.

Under President’s Rule, the Lt. Governor becomes full-fledged executive head of the government and has the power to appoint a group of advisors who act as council of ministers. The duration of President’s rule is also subject to discretion of the Lt. Governor.

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