The Kerala High Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a petition seeking a declaration that a governor does not have the power to indefinitely withhold Bills passed by the state Assembly, PTI reported.

The detailed order in the case is not yet available.

In his petition, lawyer PV Jeevesh had also urged the court to give directions to the Centre to amend the Constitution in order to set a time limit within which the president of India or state governors must take a decision on the Bills sent to them for their assent.

The petitioner-lawyer cited six Bills, including the Lok Ayukta (Amendment) Bill and University Laws (Amendment) Bill, which he said Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has been withholding indefinitely.

Under Article 200 of the Constitution, governors and the president have the power to grant or withhold assent to Bills passed by state Assemblies and Parliament.

In his plea, Jeevesh argued that Khan was being “contumacious, arbitrary, despotic, and antithetical to the democratic values” by holding back the Bills, Bar and Bench reported.

Kerala government vs governor

On October 23, a controversy had erupted after Khan directed vice chancellors of nine state-run universities to submit their resignations, citing a Supreme Court verdict. The vice chancellors challenged the order in the High Court.

On October 24, the High Court allowed the vice chancellors to continue in their positions till a final order on the matter was passed by the governor on the basis of show cause notices.

After that, the state Cabinet decided to request Khan to promulgate an ordinance removing him as the sole chancellor of the universities, so that renowned academicians can be appointed to the post.

Meanwhile, the Lok Ayukta (Amendment) Bill was passed by Kerala Assembly in August, allowing the state government to accept or reject the verdict of the body. However, the governor has not given his assent to the Bill since then.