Supreme Court Queries Tamil Nadu Governor on Delay in Disposing of Bills Since January 2020

Supreme Court of India

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, raised concerns on Monday regarding the prolonged delay by the Tamil Nadu Governor in addressing various pending bills. The three-judge bench questioned the Governor’s actions during a hearing on a plea filed by the Tamil Nadu Government.

The court noted that despite the apex court’s order on November 10, the Governor only disposed of several bills on November 13, which had been pending since January 2020. Expressing dissatisfaction, the court asked, “What was the Governor doing for three years?” and questioned the need for the Governor to wait for Supreme Court intervention.

In response to the Attorney General R Venkataramani’s clarification that the present Governor assumed office in November 2021, the court remained unconvinced. The matter was adjourned until December 1, following the information that the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly had re-passed the ten bills in a special session on November 18.

Senior Advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the State of Tamil Nadu, informed the court that all 12 bills mentioned in the writ petition were disposed of on November 13. Out of these, assent was withheld in 10 bills, and 2 bills were reserved for the President’s consideration.

During the special session on November 18, the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly reconsidered and passed all 10 bills for which the Governor had withheld assent. The Supreme Court took note of the concerns raised in the petition, where the Tamil Nadu Government sought directions for the Governor to clear pending bills within a specified timeframe.

The petition, filed through advocate Sabarish Subramanian, urged the court to declare the Governor’s inaction as unconstitutional, illegal, arbitrary, and a malafide exercise of power. The state government emphasized the impact of the Governor’s delays on various administrative functions, including remission orders, day-to-day files, appointments, and approval processes related to corruption cases.

The court was informed that the Governor had expressed concerns about the transparency in the selection process for members of the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission. However, the Governor approved other proposals for appointments received from the government.

The Tamil Nadu Government sought the court’s intervention to issue directions stipulating time limits for the Governor to consider bills and other matters forwarded by the Legislative Assembly and the government. The petition emphasized the potential harm to parliamentary democracy and the will of the people if the Governor’s inaction persisted.

In conclusion, the state government urged the court to issue appropriate directions and guidelines, considering the recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission, to ensure timely consideration of bills and other administrative matters by the Governor.

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