(1) If at any time, except when the Legislative Assembly of a State is in session, or where there is a Legislative Council in a State, except when both Houses of the Legislature are in session, the Governor is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action, he may promulgate such Ordinances as the circumstances appear to him to require:

 

   Provided that the Governor shall not, without instructions from the President, promulgate any such Ordinance if —

 

(a) a Bill containing the same provisions would under this Constitution have required the previous sanction of the President for the introduction thereof into the Legislature; or

 

(b) he would have deemed it necessary to reserve a Bill containing the same provisions for the consideration of the President; or

 

(c) an Act of the Legislature of the State containing the same provisions would under this Constitution have been invalid unless, having been reserved for the consideration of the President, it had received the assent of the President.

 

(2) An Ordinance promulgated under this article shall have the same force and effect as an Act of the Legislature of the State assented to by the Governor, but every such Ordinance —

 

(a) shall be laid before the Legislative Assembly of the State, or where there is a Legislative Council in the State, before both the Houses, and shall cease to operate at the expiration of six weeks from the reassembly of the Legislature, or if before the expiration of that period a resolution disapproving it is passed by the Legislative Assembly and agreed to by the Legislative Council, if any, upon the passing of the resolution or, as the case may be, on the resolution being agreed to by the Council; and

 

(b) may be withdrawn at any time by the Governor.

 

   Explanation — Where the Houses of the Legislature of a State having a Legislative Council are summoned to reassemble on different dates, the period of six weeks shall be reckoned from the later of those dates for the purposes of this clause.

 

(3) If and so far as an Ordinance under this article makes any provision which would not be valid if enacted in an Act of the Legislature of the State assented to by the Governor, it shall be void:

 

   Provided that, for the purposes of the provisions of this Constitution relating to the effect of an Act of the Legislature of a State which is repugnant to an Act of Parliament or an existing law with respect to a matter enumerated in the Concurrent List, an Ordinance promulgated under this article in pursuance of instructions from the President shall be deemed to be an Act of the Legislature of the State which has been reserved for the consideration of the President and assented to by him.

 

Debate Summary

Article 187, Draft Constitution, 1948

1) If at any time, except when the Legislative Assembly of a State is in session, or where there is a Legislative Council in a State, except when both Houses of the Legislature are in session, the Governor is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action, he may promulgate such Ordinances as the circumstances appear to him to require:

Provided that the Governor shall not, without instructions from the President, promulgate any such Ordinance if an Act of the Legislature of the State containing the same provisions would under the provisions of this Constitution have been invalid unless, having been reserved for the consideration of the President, it had received the assent of the President.

(2) An Ordinance promulgated under this article shall have the same force and effect as an Act of the Legislature of the State assented to by the Governor, but every such Ordinance-

(a) Shall be laid before the Legislative Assembly of the State, or where there is a Legislative Council in the State, before both the Houses, and shall cease to operate at the expiration of six weeks from the reassembly of the Legislature, or if before the expiration of that period a resolution disapproving it is passed by the Legislative Assembly and agreed to by the Legislative Council, if any, upon the passing of the resolution or, as the case may be, on the resolution being agreed to by the Council; and

(b) May be withdrawn at any time by the Governor.

Explanation.-Where the Houses of the Legislature of a State having a Legislative Council are summoned to re-assemble on different dates, the period of six weeks shall be reckoned from the later of those dates for the purposes of this clause.

(3) If and so far as an Ordinance under this article makes any provision which would not be valid if enacted in an Act of the Legislature of the State assented to by the Governor, it shall be void:

Provided that, for the purposes of the provisions of this Constitution relating to the effect of an Act of the Legislature of a State which is repugnant to an Act of Parliament or an existing law with respect to a matter enumerated in the Concurrent List, an Ordinance promulgated under this article in pursuance of instructions from the President shall be deemed to be an Act of the Legislature of the State which has been reserved for the consideration of the President and assented to by him.

 

Draft Article 187 (Article 213) was debated on 14th June 1949. It defined the scope and limitations of the Governor’s power to pass ordinances.

 

One member wanted to amend clause (2)(a) so that ordinances would expire in two weeks from the date of their promulgation, and to delete the Explanation to clause (2). In support of his proposals, he pointed out that an ordinance would stay in force for as long as the Legislature did not meet; since there could be more than six months between sessions, the present Draft Article could allow an ordinance to be in force for over seven months. As the ordinance was the result of executive powers, it should be subject to the scrutiny of the Legislature as soon as possible.

 

Another member proposed a number of amendments, to the effect that the ordinance-making power should be confined to the President rather than Governors of individual states. He argued that this was an extraordinary power which should only be used after careful consideration and with the knowledge of the Centre.

 

All the amendments were rejected without debate. Draft Article 187 was adopted on 14th June 1949.