SC: What was Guv doing for 3 years?
Apex court questions inordinate delay in granting assent to Bills passed by TN Assembly
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday questioned the delay on the part of Governor RN Ravi in granting assent to several Bills passed by the state Assembly, asking as to why should Governors wait for parties to move the top court with their grievances. Posing tough questions, a bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud asked what was the Governor doing for three years, noting that the Bills were pending since January 2020. Observing that the issue was whether there was a delay in the discharge of the constitutional functions entrusted to the office of the Governors, the court also said it would deal with the question whether a Governor can sit over the Bills without sending them either back to the Assembly or to the President. The top court made the observations as it deferred the hearing on the Tamil Nadu government’s plea alleging delay by Governor Ravi to December 1 after Attorney General R Venkataramani, appearing for the Office of the Governor, sought a postponement. The court, while adjourning the hearing, took note of the fact that the TN Assembly has re-adopted 10 Bills returned by the governor. “Let us await the decision of the Governor (on re-adopted) Bills,” said the bench also comprising Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra. The top court, meanwhile, also sought responses from the Centre and the office of Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on a separate plea of the Kerala government accusing him of not granting assent to several Bills cleared by the legislative assembly. While hearing the plea of the TN government, the bench took note of the fact that Governor Ravi responded by saying that he was withholding his assent on ten Bills after the top court issued notices on November 10. “Mr Attorney (Venkataramani), the Governor says he has disposed of these Bills on November 13. Our concern is that our order was passed on November 10. These Bills have been pending since January 2020. It means that the Governor took the decision after the Court issued notice.” “What was the governor doing for three years? Why should the governor wait for the parties to approach the Supreme Court,” the bench asked. The top most law officer said that there were some “intricate” and “delicate” issues concerning some Bills as they seek to take away certain powers of the State Governor.