Delay in signing bills: SC seeks reply of Centre, Kerala governor on state govt's plea

Supreme Court
The Supreme Court observed that governors should not start acting only after a petition is filed before the top court. Photo: AFP

The Supreme Court on Monday sought responses from the Centre and the office of Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on a plea of the state government accusing him of not granting assent to several bills cleared by the legislative assembly.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra took note of the submissions of senior advocate K K Venugopal, alleging delay on the part of the governor in granting assent to eight bills.

The top court also issued a notice to Attorney General R Venkataramani asking that either he or Solicitor General Tushar Mehta assist it in the hearing. The court will now hear the Kerala government's plea on Friday.

"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.

In its plea, the state of Kerala claimed that Governor Khan is delaying the consideration of eight bills that have been passed by the state assembly.

"Mr Venugopal submits that- 1. The governor is a part of the 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 bench said in its order.

The Kerala government has claimed that the governor is delaying the bills by withholding his assent and this is "defeating the rights of the people".

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