SC Raised Question on Pending Bills : ‘What Was Tamil Nadu Governor Doing For 3 Years?’

New Delhi: The Supreme Court pulled up the Kerala Governor RN Ravi, while hearing the Tamil Nadu government’s plea against delays in clearing bills. The Tamil Nadu government has accused the Governor of deliberately delaying the bills’ clearance and scuttling the state’s development by “undermining the elected administration”.

“These bills were pending since 2020. What was he doing for three years?,” asked a bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra.

The court – hearing similar pleas by the Punjab and Kerala governments – also raised a point of law – “can a Governor withhold assent on a bill without sending it back to the Assembly?”

Earlier, on November 10, the top court described the delay by Governor Ravi in clearing the bills as a “matter of serious concern”. The SC also sought response from the Centre on the state government’s petition accusing the Raj Bhavan of “sitting over” 12 legislations. The apex court sought the assistance of the attorney general or solicitor general in resolving the issue.

The court adjourned the matter, scheduling its next hearing for December 1.

In a similar issue with the Governor in Kerala, the Supreme Court today also heard a plea of the Kerala government which accused state Governor Arif Mohammed Khan of not granting assent to several bills cleared by the legislative assembly.

The top court sought responses from the Centre and the office of the Kerala Governor in this regard.

A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra took note of senior advocate KK Venugopal’s submissions, alleging delay on the Governor’s part in clearing the eight bills.