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Wednesday, April 17 2024
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Kerala

President Murmu Sued by Kerala Govt. Over Withheld Bills

Murmu
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On March 23, the Kerala Government filed an unprecedented lawsuit against Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan for keeping the bills pending for an extended length of time and then reserving them for the President’s consideration, and against President Droupadi Murmu for withholding assent for the four bills passed by the Kerala Legislature without providing a reason.

Articles 14, 200, and 201 of the Constitution were broken by the President’s highly arbitrary act of withholding his assent to the four bills without providing a rationale. The State has claimed that constitutional morality requires the recall of the seven Bills’ reference to the President.

The State has listed the Secretary to the President, the Kerala Governor and the Additional Chief Secretary to the Governor as respondents in the writ petition filed before the Supreme Court.

Kerala would be represented in the top court by a senior lawyer, specialising in Constitutional matters and C.K. Sasi, its Standing Counsel.

The State contends that the actions of the Union Government in advising the President to withhold assent to Bills passed by the Legislative Assembly 11 to 24 months back, which were wholly within the domain of the State Government, subverted and disrupted the federal structure of the Constitution. It was also a grave encroachment into the domain entrusted to the State under the Constitution, it argued.

The reasons assigned by the Governor for reserving the Bills for the consideration of the President had nothing to do with the Union of India or the relationship between the Legislature of Kerala and the Union of India. The actions of the Governor subverted the delicate balance envisaged by the Constitution between the three organs of State, by rendering the functioning of the elected executive, which drafted and introduced the Bills, and then the State Legislature, which passed the Bills, wholly ineffective and otiose. His actions also subverted the federal structure of the Constitution, by reserving Bills, which are wholly within the domain of the State under the Constitution, for the President, it contends.

By grouping seven of the eight pending Bills and referring them to the President, the Governor, who reserved the seven Bills, escaped a ruling from the Supreme Court. The governor did not act with sincerity or good intentions. The Governor purposefully attempted to evade performing his constitutional duties and obligations under Article 200 of the Constitution by reserving the Bills after keeping them pending for up to 24 months. The State would contend that the Bills’ reference to the President must be deemed unconstitutional.

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