TN CM Stalin calls governor Ravi 'dictator' for 'kill bill' comment 

So, the governor should not treat himself as the great dictator,” the CM said in a hard-hitting statement asking Ravi to withdraw his words and not act against his oath. 
Dmk functionaries place poster across the city against Governor of Tamilnadu RN Ravi. Express/Ashwin prasath
Dmk functionaries place poster across the city against Governor of Tamilnadu RN Ravi. Express/Ashwin prasath

CHENNAI:  Chief Minister M K Stalin on Thursday said the governor should not consider himself as the ‘great dictator’ after RN Ravi said that withholding a bill would mean that the ‘bill is dead’ and it is a decent language used by the constitution to mean ‘rejection’. 

“The Supreme Court in its verdict in the Shamsher Singh Vs State of Punjab (1975) case had said the governor is but a shorthand expression for the state government and President is an abbreviation for the central government.  So, the governor should not treat himself as the great dictator,” the CM said in a hard-hitting statement asking Ravi to withdraw his words and not act against his oath. 

Earlier in the day, interacting with civil services aspirants at Raj Bhavan, the governor said there are three options before him while dealing with a bill sent for assent.  On the option to withhold the bill, the governor said, “The SC has defined the word withholding. It does not mean that the governor is holding the bill. It means the bill is dead. The governor, however, also admitted that when the bill is re-adopted by the assembly he must give his assent to it. 

Ravi also said a governor cannot give assent to a bill if it’s a matter under the concurrent list and if Parliament has passed a law on the subject. “(In such cases) it has to go to the President,” the governor said. It’s pertinent to note that the governor is yet to give his assent to the bill re-adopted by the TN assembly to ban online gambling, and has also said the matter falls under the legislative ambit of the union government.

Reacting sharply, the CM said, “The governor who has been creating confusion among people by his political and social views, has now expressed views contrary to facts about assembly proceedings and in a way disturbing administrative discipline.” 

Governor has no power to return money bill: CM

Charging that the governor has frozen 14 files sent by the state government, Stalin said the governor has been failing in his administrative duties by not giving his assent to ordinances, bills and amendments to laws. “If continuous pressure is exerted, he poses a nominal query to the government and thinks that his duty is over. For example, the bill to ban online gambling is still pending before the governor. Even after a huge loss of lives, the governor’s silence is shocking.”

The CM also pointed out that the governor has no power to return a money bill. However, he returned the bill to ban online gambling which has been certified as a money bill on March 6 to the speaker. Even after re-adopting the bill by giving explanations, the governor cannot be denying his assent, the CM said. The CM also said the state assembly is reflecting the voice of the people of Tamil Nadu and it is not good for the governor to speak in a way that would reduce the dignity of the House.

The governor also waded into a controversy by saying that protests against the Sterlite plant, which led to a police firing in which several people died, as foreign-funded ones. During his interaction meet, Ravi said, “They wanted the Sterlite plant to be closed because it met 40 per cent of our copper needs. All those people who were behind it were getting foreign contributions.” The governor also said the protests against the Vizhinjam port project too were foreign-funded.

DMK deputy general secretary and Thoothukudi MP Kanimozhi condemned Ravi for “defaming the people’s struggle against Sterlite” and asked him to provide evidence. Anti-Sterlite People’s Movement coordinator Fatima Babu said the remarks disrespect the 15 civilians who lost their lives. The state government closed the copper plant based on a policy decision and the decision was upheld by the Madras HC, she said. Meanwhile, Thoothukudi CPM district secretary KP Arumugam had announced a protest to condemn the governor’s remark at the Chidambaranagar bus stop along Tamil Salai on April 7.

When a civil service aspirant asked whether he ever felt that the governors are opposed more for political reasons than for rational ones, Ravi gave a lengthy reply explaining what are the responsibilities of a governor according to the Constitution and about the State List, Union List and the Concurrent List.

He also explained what is the governor's position in a State legislature. 

"The constitution says a legislature of a State constitutes of firstly, a  governor. Secondly, the legislative assembly. Wherever there is a legislative council, there comes the legislative council. So the governor is a part of the legislature. So a bill passed by the assembly does not mean it is passed by the legislature. Because the Assembly is a part of the legislature. So when the bill is passed and sent to the governor. The governor exercises his/her constitutional responsibility of being a constituent of the legislature by taking into account whether this bill is going beyond the competence of the legislature," Ravi added. 

Speaking on the need for strictly implementing the FCR Act, the governor said the thousands of NGOs in the country are receiving thousands of crores of rupees from foreign countries. 

"Some of them were receiving contributions and the donors were sitting in foreign countries sending money for activities which were pre-judicial, Anti-national in nature. For example, let us say, here in Tamil Nadu, we have a nuclear plant in the south. While establishing this unit, there were protests against it for some or other reasons and we realised that this money trail goes to those entities in the foreign country – Europe, the US, different countries from where the money is being sent for these activities, sometimes in the name of human rights, climate or green environment - different names," the governor said. 

The governor also charged that in the North East, shell entities sitting in Europe and the US are sending more than Rs.250 crores every year for conversion purposes. "Now, Should we allow that, Should we have the check? There is no harm in receiving foreign money but it should not be used for a purpose which is harmful to our national interest," he added.

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