THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It IS possibly the first time in Kerala a Governor is withholding assent to a Bill using discretionary powers under the Constitution. The Professional Colleges (Regularisation of Admissions in Medical Colleges) Bill 2018 has thus won the rare distinction of being the first legislation in the state to face such an action.
“Earlier Governors have returned Bills seeking clarifications. Also, there were Bills reserved for the President’s consideration. But it’s probably the first where the Governor of a state used his discretion to withhold assent to a Bill under Article 200 of the Indian Constitution. In fact, with the act of returning the file while withholding assent, the Bill is in effect dead,” said official sources.
The Legislative Assembly won’t be able to go into it further. Withholding assent is one of the four options before a Governor. The other three being giving assent, referring to the President’s consideration and returning the Bill to the government seeking clarification. Earlier, the Plachimada Tribunal Bill unanimously passed by the Kerala Assembly was sent to the President.
Recently, during the Left Government’s time, Governor P Sathasivam once referred a Bill for the President’s consideration when the Constitution of Maritime Board Bill came before him. The Bill was first sent back by the President. Later, it got clearance after certain amendments proposed were incorporated.
The CM’s Office said it need not be the first time. “Earlier, there were instances of Governor returning the Bill. Also, there were instances were Bills once returned were resent for the Governor’s nod and obtained his assent. Whether this is the first time the Governor is withholding assent is being verified,” said Chief Minister’s Private Secretary M V Jayarajan.