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Crime-Justice

SC issues notice on Kerala’s plea against Governor's inaction to assent bills

IANS | November 20, 2023 12:08 PM

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice on a plea filed by the state of Kerala against "inaction" on the part of the Governor Arif Mohammed Khan in giving assent to the bills passed by the state legislature.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud and Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra sought response of the Union government and Additional Chief Secretary to the Governor by Friday.

“Issue notice to the second and third respondents, returnable on Friday. We request the Attorney General of India or the Solicitor General to assist this court in the matter, ” the bench ordered.

During the hearing, senior advocate K. K. Venugopal, representing the Kerala government, said that Governors should realise that they are a part of the state legislature under Article 168 of the Constitution.

Venugopal said that as many as 8 bills are pending for assent with the Governor Khan for a period ranging between 7-23 months.

He said that the Governor also continues to sit on three bills which were earlier promulgated as ordinances under his signature.

According to the plea, as many as eight bills were presented to the Governor for his assent and of these, “three have been pending with the Governor for more than two years, and three more in excess of a full year".

The plea filed by the Kerala government said that by keeping bills presented to him 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".

The writ petition said that the words "as soon as possible" occurring in Article 200 of the Constitution necessarily mean that not only should pending bills be disposed of within a reasonable time, but that these Bills have to be dealt with urgently and expeditiously without any avoidable delay.

It added that the Governor's alleged inaction defeats the rights of the people of the state to the welfare measures sought to be implemented through the bills.

"The conduct of the Governor, as would presently be demonstrated, threatens to defeat and subvert the very fundamentals and basic foundations of our Constitution, including the rule of law and democratic good governance, " the plea said.

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