News Karnataka
Monday, February 26 2024
Politics

Supreme Court Questions TN Governor on Bill Referral

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On Friday, December 1, the Supreme Court questioned Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi‘s decision to forward laws to the President following his announcement that he would not be signing them. After the Assembly re-enacted the measures in response to the Governor’s statement of withholding assent, the bench led by stated orally that the Governor could not refer the laws to the President.

According to the bench, the Governor is limited to three alternatives under Article 200: referring to the President, withholding assent, or granting assent. Once the Governor exercises one of these options, he is not permitted to exercise another.

The governor said on November 13 that he would not be signing eleven laws. The Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly then called a special session and on November 18 re-enacted the exact identical measures. The governor said on November 13 that he would not be signing eleven laws. The Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly then called a special session and on November 18 re-enacted the exact identical measures. The Supreme Court fined the Governor on November 20 for allowing the invoices to remain unpaid for more than three years. On November 23, the Supreme Court ruled unequivocally that a governor could not sit on a bill forever and that he had to return it to the Assembly if he was refusing to sign it.

In his appearance today on behalf of the State of Tamil Nadu, Senior Advocate Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi informed the bench that there had been a “new development” in the case: on November 28, the Governor forwarded the legislation to the President. “It violates the Constitution,” expressed regret Singhvi. Judge DY Chandrachud noted that after the Governor has used his right to withhold his consent, he is unable to refer the measures to the President. Speaking directly to India’s Attorney General R Venkataramani, CJI Chandrachud stated: In his appearance today on behalf of the State of Tamil Nadu, Senior Advocate Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi informed the bench that there had been a “new development” in the case: on November 28, the Governor forwarded the legislation to the President. “It violates the Constitution,” expressed regret Singhvi. Judge DY Chandrachud noted that after the Governor has used his right to withhold his consent, he is unable to refer the measures to the President. Speaking directly to India’s Attorney General R Venkataramani, CJI Chandrachud stated:

When AG said that this was an “open question” to be considered and that the Governor need not refer the bill to the Assembly if he was withholding the assent, CJI replied that this question was settled in the Punjab Governor’s case. If the Governor need not return the bill to the assembly after withholding assent, then it would mean that he can “completely stultify the bill”, CJI cautioned.

“Unlike the office of the Governor, a President holds an elected office. So a much wider power is given to the President. But a Governor as a nominee of the Union Government, must exercise one of the three options provided in Article 200,” CJI reiterated.

“Once the Assembly re-passes the bill, after the Governor withholds the assent, then you can’t say you are referring to the President. Because, last line of the proviso to Article 200 says “then shall not withhold the assent”, CJI added.

AG maintained that the only way the proviso to Article 200, which permits the Assembly to re-enact the bills, will be put into effect is if the Governor sends a message together with the bill back to the Assembly.

“According to you, the governor has an independent power of withholding the assent? We will consider that,” CJI said.

CJI also urged the AG to ensure that the impasse is resolved at the level of the Governor, without waiting for a judgment from the Court. CJI suggested to the AG that the Governor can invite the Chief Minister for a talk and resolve the issue.

“Mr Attorney, there are so many things which need to be resolved between the Governor and the CM. We would appreciate if the Governor sits with the CM and resolves this. I think it would be appropriate if the Governor invites the CM,” CJI told the AG.

The matter will be next considered on December 11. The bench is also considering a similar matter in relation to the Kerala Governor.

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