The apex court asked, “These Bills have been pending since January 2020. It means that the Governor took the decision after the Court issued notice. What was he doing for three years? Why should the Governor wait for the parties to approach the Supreme Court?”
However, the CJI said “The issue is not whether any particular Governor caused delay but whether in general there has been a delay by Governor in exercising Constitutional functions entrusted under Article 200 of the Constitution.”
The top court was then informed that the Tamil Nadu assembly re-adopted those ten bills in a special session on Saturday, following which it adjourned the hearing till December 1.
The bench said at present only five Bills were pending assent before the governor as the Assembly has re-enacted 10 other Bills. Once re-passed, the Bills are on the same footing as the money Bill, the bench said, adding “let the governor take fresh decisions on these re-adopted Bills”.
This comes after state chief minister MK Stalin on Saturday moved a special resolution in the state Assembly to take up for consideration the ten bills that were earlier passed by the House but returned by Governor Ravi.
“The Bills will be passed and sent again to Governor RN Ravi,” Tamil Nadu speaker Appavu was quoted as saying by ANI.
During the session, Stalin accused the Governor of “insulting” the assembly and people of the state by returning the bills, adding that Governor Ravi had returned the bills without stating any reasons.
The bills — covering different departments, including law, agriculture and higher education — were re-adopted by the state assembly on Saturday.
Earlier, on November 10, the top court described the delay by Governor Ravi in clearing the bills as a “matter of serious concern”. The SC also sought response from the Centre on the state government’s petition accusing the Raj Bhavan of “sitting over” 12 legislations. The apex court sought the assistance of the attorney general or solicitor general in resolving the issue.
In a similar issue with the Governor in Kerala, the Supreme Court on Monday also heard a plea of the Kerala government which accused state Governor Arif Mohammed Khan of not granting assent to several bills cleared by the legislative assembly.
The top court sought responses from the Centre and the office of the Kerala Governor in this regard.
A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra took note of senior advocate KK Venugopal’s submissions, alleging delay on the Governor’s part in clearing the eight bills.
“This is an endemic situation. The governors do not realise that they are part of the legislature under Article 168 of the Constitution,” Venugopal said.
Then the bench in its order said, “Mr Venugopal submits that- 1. The governor is a part of legislature under Art 162; 2. The governor had promulgated three ordinances which were later converted into those passed by legislature; 3. As many as eight bills are pending consideration for assent ranging from 7 to 21 months.”
The Kerala government has claimed that withholding of these bills by the Governor is “defeating the rights of the people”.