Monday, December 4, 2023

Tamil Nadu moves Supreme Court against Governor for issuing notifications regarding appointment of VCs in three State Universities

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The government of Tamil Nadu has filed a Writ Petition in the Supreme Court against three notifications issued by Governor T.N. Ravi regarding the selection process for the appointment of Vice-Chancellors of three Universities in the state.

The plea challenged the notifications issued by the Governor in exercise of his eo-nominee functions under State Statutes as Chancellor of Bharathiar University, Tamil Nadu Teachers Education University and Madras University.

It alleged that the Governor, in his usual non-cooperative attitude, has been causing impediments and embarrassment in the state government machinery and issuing notifications through his Governor’s office for constituting Search and Selection Committees for the post of Vice-Chancellor(s) unilaterally and contrary to the respective State Statutes.

It further sought declaration of the impugned notifications issued by the Governor as arbitrary and illegal.

Earlier on October 28, the state government had approached the Apex Court against Governor Ravi, alleging that the latter was obstructing the ability of the State Legislative Assembly to carry out its duties by excessively delaying the consideration of bills passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly.

The state government sought a specified timeline for the Governor, by which he should dispose of all pending Bills, files, and Government orders forwarded by the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly.

Filed by Advocate Sabarish Subramanian, the petitioner submitted that the Governor’s inaction had caused a ‘constitutional deadlock’ between the Constitutional head of the state and the elected government of the state.

It further sought to declare as unconstitutional, the Governor’s inaction regarding the consideration and assent of Bills passed and forwarded by the Tamil Nadu Assembly and non-consideration of files, Government Orders and policies forwarded by the state for his signature.

The petition further accused the Governor of exhibiting a ‘malafide exercise’ of power through such actions.

It alleged that the Governor has not only kept multiple Bills pending, but he also failed to accord sanction for prosecution and investigation of various crimes of corruption.

The petition said various applications for appointment of the Chairman and members of the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission were still pending with the Governor with the result that the Commission which should consist of a Chairman and 14 members, was currently functioning with a mere strength of four members, out of which, one was holding the additional charge of Chairman as well.

It alleged that by not signing the remission orders, day-to-day files and appointment orders, besides not giving approval to the Bills passed by the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, the Governor was bringing the entire administration to a grinding halt and creating an adversarial attitude by not cooperating with the state administration.

The plea said the Governor was yet to approve recruitment orders and had not granted his approval to prosecute Ministers and MLAs involved in corruption, including the transfer of investigation to CBI by the Supreme Court.

The petitioner prayed to the Apex Court to stipulate the outer time limit for the Governor to consider Bills passed by the Legislature and sent for assent under Article 200 of the Constitution in light of the recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission.

It said the State Governor, who was the First Respondent in the case, was appointed by the Second Respondent (Union of India), in line with the Constitution.

The petition alleged that the Governor had positioned himself as a ‘political rival’ to the legitimately elected government by hindering and obstructing the Legislative Assembly’s ability to carry out its legislative duties by unjustly and excessively delaying the consideration of bills passed by the Assembly.

(Case title: The State of Tamil Nadu vs The Chancellor, Bharathiar University and Ors)

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