SC slams Kerala Guv for sending bills to prez, but refrains from intervening in his powers

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan. Photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: The Supreme Court on Wednesday denounced Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan for sending seven bills to President Droupadi Murmu. It was on Tuesday, that the governor referred seven bills he disapproved of to the president four days after the apex court directed him to read its judgement in the Punjab Governor's case. At the same time, he has given his assent to Public Health Bill 2021 which was before him for the last five months.

The Supreme Court questioned the governor for delaying some bills for nearly two years and not keeping transparency as per the constitution. 

However, the apex court refused to intervene in the governor's powers. The court made the remark while considering the Kerala government's plea accusing the governor of delaying assent to eight bills cleared by the assembly. 

The Supreme Court, in a similar petition filed by the Punjab Government, had held that if a Governor decides to withhold assent to a Bill, then he has to return the bill to the legislature for reconsideration. The court had also orally stated that the trend of Governors acting on the bills only after the state government approached the court must stop.

As per the constitution, when a bill is passed in the state assembly, the governor has four options: 1) give his assent 2)withhold his assent 3) return the bill for amendments 4) reserve the bill for the president's assent. 

Kerala govt's plea against Governor
In its plea before the Supreme Court, the Kerala government has claimed that the governor is delaying the consideration of the eight bills by withholding his assent and this is "defeating the rights of the people".

It has claimed inaction on the governor's part in relation to the eight bills passed by the state legislature and said many of these proposed legislations involve immense public interest and provide for welfare measures that would stand deprived and denied to the people of the state to the extent of the delay.

The government has contended that grave injustice is being done to the people of the state as well as to its representative democratic institutions by the governor by keeping the bills pending for long periods of time, including three for more than two years.

The plea says the governor's conduct in keeping the bills pending for long and indefinite periods of time is also manifestly arbitrary and violates Article 14 of the Constitution.

The following are the bills pending consideration by the Governor and the time elapsed since its presentation:

1. University Laws Amendment Bill (1st Amendment) 2021: 3 months
2. University Laws Amendment Bill (1st Amendment) 2021: 23 months
3. University Laws Amendment Bill (2nd Amendment) 2021 [APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University (Mal)]: 23 months
4. Kerala Co-operative Societies Amendment Bill 2022 [MILMA]: 14 months
5. University Laws Amendment Bill 2022: 12 months
6. Kerala Lokayukta Amendment Bill 2022: 12 months
7. University Laws Amendment Bill 2022: 9 months

(With PTI and Live Law inputs)

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.