NEW DELHI: After Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Telangana, the Kerala government has also approached the Supreme Court alleging that the governor is not taking a decision on bills forwarded to him after passage by the assembly, thereby “defeating” the rights of the people to the welfare measures sought to be implemented through the proposed laws.
The apex court, which has in recent months examined a similar plea filed by the Telangana government and also adjudicated the legal battle between the Delhi government and the lieutenant governor over control over bureaucracy, will have now have to hear and decide on the petitions filed by Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Kerala.
In its plea, the Kerala government pleaded the court to pass orders in relation to the “inaction” on the part of the governor in relation to eight bills passed by the state legislature and presented to him for his assent under Article 200 of the Constitution. It said three bills have been pending with the governor for more than two years and three for more than a year.
“In keeping bills pending for such long periods, the governor is directly violating the provision of the Constitution, namely, that the bill should be dealt with ‘as soon as possible’. Grave injustice is being done to the people of the state, as also to its representative democratic institutions (i.e. the state legislature and the executive) by the governor, by keeping bills pending for long periods of time. The governor appears to be of the view that granting assent or otherwise is a matter entrusted to him in his absolute discretion. This is a complete subversion of the Constitution,” the petition said.
It said the conduct of the governor in keeping bills pending for long and indefinite periods of time is manifestly arbitrary.
While adjudicating Telangana government’s similar plea in April, the apex court had said, “The first proviso to Article 200 states that the governor may as soon as possible after the presentation of the bill for assent, return the bill if it is not a money bill together with a message for reconsideration to the House or Houses of the state legislature. The expression ‘as soon as possible’ has significant constitutional content and must be borne in mind by constitutional authorities.”
The Tamil Nadu government, which filed a similar petition a few days ago, said there is a “constitutional deadlock” in the state due to non-cooperation of the governor who is not giving assent to bills passed by the assembly.

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