Supreme Court expresses serious concern over Tamil Nadu Governor sitting on bills

Senior advocate P Wilson said the governor is acting in defiance of the Constitution, and the elected government and governor have become dysfunctional.
Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi. (Photo | EPS)
Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi. (Photo | EPS)

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday expressed “serious concern” over delay by Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi in giving assent to bills passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly.A three-judge bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra noted that as many as 12 bills are pending with the Tamil Nadu Governor and sought the centre’s response to the state government’s writ petition accusing the Raj Bhavan of “sitting over” legislations. Senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Mukul Rohatgi, and P Wilson appeared on behalf of the state government.

During the hearing, Singhvi submitted that key decisions taken by the state government such as sanction for prosecution, appointment of members to the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission, and grant of premature release to prisoners are awaiting the approval of the governor. The state cannot carry out recruitment without the full quorum of the public service commission including the chairman.

“From Punjab to Tamil Nadu, the disease is spreading,” he said. States are now made to approach the Supreme Court with the same problems and the Constitution does not permit the governor to act against the state government. Article 200 requires him to deal with bills ‘as soon as possible’, Singhvi said.

Senior advocate P Wilson said the governor is acting in defiance of the Constitution, and the elected government and governor have become dysfunctional. He submitted five legal propositions for consideration by the Supreme Court regarding the time frame to be fixed for governors while dealing with bills and executive actions. Under Article 91 of the draft constitution, the time limit fixed for President to decide on bills was six weeks and the same can be fixed for governors too, Wilson said.

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