The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi as it resumed hearing the state government’s plea against the delay by him in clearing bills passed by the Assembly, Live Law reported.
In October, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government moved the Supreme Court accusing Ravi of obstructing the Legislative Assembly from carrying out its duties. In its petition, the state government alleged that Ravi has not only kept several bills pending but has also not sanctioned the investigation and prosecution of several corruption cases.
On November 10, a bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud observed that the governor’s inaction on bills presented for his assent was a “matter of serious concern”. On Saturday, the Tamil Nadu Assembly readopted 10 bills returned by Ravi.
At Monday’s hearing, the bench noted the development and said that the oldest of the pending bills is from January 2020. “It means that the governor took the decision after the court issued notice,” the chief justice observed. “What was the governor doing for three years? Why should the governor wait for the parties to approach the Supreme Court?”
Attorney General R Venkataramani said the dispute was about those bills that seek to do away with the governor’s power, in his capacity as chancellor, to appoint the vice-chancellors of state-run universities. This is an important matter and requires reconsideration, he added.
The attorney general also told the court that Ravi took charge as governor of Tamil Nadu only in November 2021. But the judges dismissed the submission, saying that the matter was not related to the conduct of any particular governor but whether “in general there has been a delay in exercising Constitutional functions”.
On Monday, the bench issued a notice to the Centre on the Kerala government’s plea against the delay by Governor Arif Mohammed Khan in considering eight bills pending with him for periods ranging from seven months to two years.
“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, apart from defeating the rights of the people of the state to the welfare measures sought to be implemented through the bills,” the Kerala government submitted in its plea.
The court will next hear the Tamil Nadu government’s plea on December 1, and the Kerala government’s on Friday.