NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday asked Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan to refer its judgment in Punjab Governor's case, in which the apex court clarified that the "withholding Bills" must be returned to the state legislature for reconsideration.
A bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said this during the hearing of Kerala's petition against Khan, saying the Governor is delaying the Bills passed by the state assembly without giving his assent while "defeating the rights of the people of the State".
Representing Kerala, Senior Advocate KK Venugopal highlighted several long pending Bills before the Governor, even some of them for over two years.
Venugopal submitted that still eight bills are pending without the Governor's approval. All the ministers including the Chief Minister have met him several times in this regard, the counsel said.
After his submissions, the CJI told Attorney General R Venkataramani regarding the release of the top court's order in the case by the Aam Aadmi Party-led Punjab government against Governor Banwarilal Purohit over sitting on bills, in which the court stated that the constitutional powers of the Governor cannot be used to "thwart the normal course of lawmaking by the State Legislatures."
"We uploaded the order in Punjab matter last night. Ask the Governor's Secretary to look at the order and tell us on Tuesday what your response is," Chandrachud told AG while posting the matter for hearing on November 28.
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As per the recent order, the substantive part of Article 200 empowers the Governor to withhold assent. “In such an event, the Governor must mandatorily follow the course of action which is indicated in the first proviso of communicating to the State Legislature “as soon as possible” a message warranting the reconsideration of the Bill. The expression “as soon as possible” is significant.
“If the Governor decides to withhold assent under the substantive part of Article 200, the logical course of action is to pursue the course indicated in the first proviso of remitting the Bill to the state legislature for reconsideration,” a three-judge bench headed by CJI said.
Part of the 27-page judgment applies to Tamil Nadu as well, as its Governor R N Ravi withheld assent to 10 bills recently but did not send them back to the Assembly, assuming as he did that the legislations were dead. The process of withdrawing assent was a legal grey area till now.
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