TN govt moves SC against delay by governor in assenting to bills

The plea stated that the governor's failure to review state government documents is unconstitutional, arbitrary, and a mala fide exercise of power

TN government led by MK Stalin (left) files plea in Supreme Court, alleges governor RN Ravi has positioned himself as political rival (photo: IANS)
TN government led by MK Stalin (left) files plea in Supreme Court, alleges governor RN Ravi has positioned himself as political rival (photo: IANS)


The Tamil Nadu government has petitioned the Supreme Court against a delay by governor RN Ravi in assenting to bills passed by the state legislature, saying he has positioned himself as a “political rival” to the legitimately elected government.

The plea filed before the apex court claimed that the governor was not signing remission orders, day to day files, appointment orders, approving recruitment orders, granting approval to prosecute ministers or MLAs involved in corruption, and bills passed by the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly.

“The non-consideration of files, government orders and policies forwarded by the state government for his (governor’s) signature is unconstitutional, illegal, arbitrary, unreasonable besides mala fide exercise of power,” the plea said. 

The Tamil Nadu government has sought directions from the Supreme Court to stipulate the outer time limit for the governor to consider bills passed by the legislature sent for his assent under article 200 of the Constitution.

It further sought directions for disposal of all the bills, files and government orders pending with the governor's office within a specified timeframe.

“The State Governor…has positioned himself as a political rival to the legitimately elected Government by hindering and obstructing the Legislative Assembly's ability to carry out its legislative duties by unjustly and excessively delaying the consideration of bills,” alleged the petition filed through advocate Sabarish Subramanian.

The governor has failed to accord sanction for prosecution and investigation qua various crimes of corruption involving moral turpitude of public servants and issues pertaining to the premature release of prisoners, the statement added. 

“The Governor’s inactions have caused a constitutional deadlock between the Constitutional Head of the State and the Elected Government of the State. That by not acting upon their Constitutional functions, the Hon’ble Governor is toying away with the citizen’s mandate,” stated the plea filed by the TN government. 

According to article 200, when a bill passed by the legislature of a state is presented to the governor, he has four options — (a) he assents to the bill (b) he withholds assent (c) he reserves the bill for the consideration of the President, or (d) he returns the bill to the legislature for reconsideration.

The first proviso says as soon as the bill is presented to the governor, he may return the bill to the legislature (unless it is a money bill) and request the legislature to reconsider it. The governor may also recommend amendments or changes as he thinks appropriate. If, on such reconsideration, the bill is passed again, with or without amendments, and is presented to the governor for assent, he has to accord his assent.

In accordance with the constitutional scheme, the governor is constitutionally bound to exercise one of the above options for the legislative process to achieve finality.

Earlier, the Telangana government had approached the Supreme Court seeking direction to governor Tamilisai Soundararajan to give her approval to the 10 bills which were stated to be pending with Raj Bhavan after being passed by the state legislature. 

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