The Supreme Court on Friday (24 November) requested that Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan reference its ruling in the case of the Punjab Governor. This specific judgment clarified that any "withholding Bills" must be sent back to the state legislature for further consideration.
In the course of the hearing involving Kerala's lawsuit against Khan, a bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud expressed their views. They suggested that the Governor is obstructing the implementation of bills passed by the state assembly by withholding his approval, thereby infringing on the rights of the state's citizens.
Senior Advocate KK Venugopal, who represents Kerala, brought attention to numerous bills that have been pending before the Governor for a significant amount of time, with some even exceeding two years.
Venugopal stated that there are still eight bills awaiting the Governor's approval. He noted that all the ministers, including the Chief Minister, have had numerous meetings with him on this matter, according to the counsel.
Following the presentation of his case, the CJI informed Attorney General R Venkataramani about release of the Supreme Court's decision against Governor Banwarilal Purohit. The issue at hand was the governor's delay in addressing bills, to which the court responded by stating that the governor's constitutional powers should not be employed to obstruct the regular legislative process of the State Legislatures.
"Last night, we uploaded the order concerning the Punjab issue. We request the Governor's Secretary to review the order and provide us with your response by Tuesday," Chandrachud instructed the AG, scheduling the next hearing for the matter on 28 November.
According to the latest directive, the main component of Article 200 gives the Governor the authority to refuse approval. In this scenario, it is obligatory for the Governor to adhere to the procedure outlined in the first proviso, which involves sending a message to the State Legislature for the Bill's reconsideration "as soon as possible". The phrase "as soon as possible" carries significant weight.
"When the Governor chooses to withhold approval according to the main section of Article 200, the rational step to take is to follow the direction given in the first proviso, which involves sending the Bill back to the state legislature for reconsideration," stated a three-judge panel led by the Chief Justice of India.
A portion of the 27-page ruling also pertains to Tamil Nadu, where its Governor RN Ravi recently withheld approval for 10 bills and did not return them to the Assembly, under the assumption that the legislations were no longer viable. Until now, the procedure of retracting approval was a legal ambiguity.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!