The Supreme Court on Monday said that governors should clear bills passed by the legislative assemblies as soon as possible, as mandated under Article 200 of the Constitution, Live Law reported.
Article 200 of the Constitution gives governors the power to either grant assent to a bill, reject it or reserve it for the president’s consideration in certain cases.
A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha made the observation while hearing a plea filed by the Telangana government seeking directions to Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan to clear ten bills passed by the state Assembly.
The plea was, however, dismissed by the court after it was informed that all the bills have been cleared by the governor.
“The governor must ‘as soon as possible’ after the presentation of the bill for assent return the bill which is not a money bill together with a message for reconsideration to the house..” the court said while disposing of the plea. “The expression ‘as soon as possible’ [under Article 200] has a significant constitutional intent and must be borne into mind.”
At Monday’s hearing, Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for the Telangana government, told the court that several non-Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states have been facing delays in getting bills cleared from governors. He urged the court to pass directions “one and for all”, according to Live Law.
“Elected government is at the mercy of the governor,” Dave said. “Your lordships may decide this once and for all. In Madhya Pradesh, bills are being assented to within a week, and in Gujarat within a month. Telangana is an Opposition state and so this is happening.”
However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta opposed Dave’s submission, saying that the matter should not be generalised.
Besides Telangana, governments in Kerala, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, have recently raised concern about how governors of their respective states have been interfering in administrative work and delaying the approval of bills.
On April 13, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin had said that he has asked chief ministers of states not under the Bharatiya Janata Party’s rule to urge the Centre to fix a time for governors to approve bills passed by Assemblies.
Stalin told the chief ministers that some governors are “indefinitely holding various bills” that have been passed by the state legislatures, bringing the state administrations to a standstill.