What was Guv doing for 3 years: SC questions TN Governor over delay in clearing Bills

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday raised questions over the delay by Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi in giving assent to the Bills passed by the state legislature.

A bench headed by CJI D.Y. Chandrachud and Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said the Governor returned 10 out of 12 Bills pending with him for his assent after a notice was issued by the top court on Tamil Nadu government’s plea.

“These Bills have been pending since January 2020. It means that the Governor took the decision after the Court issued notice. What was he doing for three years? Why should the Governor wait for the parties to approach the Supreme Court?” the bench asked.

During the hearing, Attorney General R. Venkataramani, the top-most law officer of the Centre, said the incumbent Governor, R.N. Ravi assumed charge with effect from November 2021.

At this, CJI Chandrachud said: “The issue is not whether any particular Governor caused delay but whether in general there has been a delay by Governor in exercising Constitutional functions entrusted under Article 200 of the Constitution.”

In a written note submitted before the apex court, AG Venkataramani apprised that the Governor assented to 152 Bills out of 181 presented between 2020 and 2023, adding that five were withdrawn by the state government, nine were reserved for President’s consideration and in relation to 10 Bills, assent was withheld. It was further told that five Bills, which were sent to the Governor in October 2023, are stated to be “in process”.

The apex court adjourned the hearing till December 1 after it was told that the Tamil Nadu Assembly in a special session on Saturday has re-adopted 10 Bills, which were sent back by the Governor for reconsideration.

“The Assembly has passed the Bills again and sent it to the Governor. Let us see what the Governor does,” it said.

According to Article 200 of the Constitution, if a Bill is passed again, with or without amendments, and is presented to the Governor for assent, he has to accord his approval.

On November 10, while issuing notice to the Union government, the apex court had said that the petition filed by the Tamil Nadu government raises a “matter of serious concern”.

In its writ petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution, the Tamil Nadu government has claimed that the Governor has positioned himself as a “political rival” to the legitimately elected state government.

It said that Bills passed 2-3 years ago were still pending with the Governor, who is not granting sanction for prosecution of ministers or MLAs involved in corruption cases, nor clearing files relating to remission of prisoners.

IANS

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