By transgressing powers, BJP-appointed governors 'trampling upon democracy': Chidambaram
Chidambaram said the Tamil Nadu governor has given a "strange and peculiar" definition to the withholding of assent to bills passed by the legislature
BJP-appointed governors are "trampling upon democracy" by transgressing their powers, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said on Friday as he hit out at Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi's remarks on his discretion to withhold bills passed by the state legislature.
During his interaction with civil service aspirants for the 'Think to Dare' series at the Raj Bhavan in Chennai on Thursday, Ravi commented on assembly bills forwarded to him for presidential assent and said that "the governor has three options: give assent, withhold - meaning the bill is dead - which the Supreme Court and Constitution uses as decent language to mean reject, and third, reserve the bill for the President".
This is a governor's discretion, Ravi had said.
Reacting to the remarks, Chidambaram said the Tamil Nadu governor has given a "strange and peculiar" definition to the withholding of assent to bills passed by the legislature and has said it means the "bill is dead".
"Actually, when a governor withholds assent for no valid reason, it means 'parliamentary democracy is dead'. Governor is bound to grant assent or withhold assent or return the bill. If the bill is passed again, governor is obliged to grant assent," the former Union minister said in a series of tweets.
The governor is a mere constitutional functionary and is the symbolic head, he said, adding that the governor's powers are severely restricted and has no powers in most matters.
"A governor is bound to act on the aid and advice of the chief minister and the Council of Ministers. By transgressing their powers, BJP-appointed Governors are trampling upon democracy," Chidambaram said.
Ravi's comments have also come under fire from the DMK-led government in Tamil Nadu which said that needlessly delaying approval amounted to "dereliction of duty" on the part of the governor.