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After Punjab and TN, Kerala moves Supreme Court against Governor delaying State Bills

Following in the footsteps of Punjab and Tamil Nadu governments, the State of Kerala has moved the Supreme Court against Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, alleging that he was delaying the consideration of bills passed by the State Legislative Assembly.

Settled by Former Attorney General for India K.K. Venugopal and filed through Advocate C.K. Sasi, the petition submitted that the Governor of Kerala had failed in his constitutional duties by causing unreasonable delay in considering over eight pending bills.

It said the conduct of the Governor threatened to defeat and subvert the very fundamentals and basic foundations of the Constitution, including the rule of law and democratic good governance, apart from defeating the rights of people of the state to welfare measures sought to be implemented through the Bills.

The petitioner contended that there has been no action on as many as eight Bills passed by the Kerala Legislative Assembly and presented to the Governor for his assent under Article 200 of the Constitution.

It said out of these, three bills have been pending with the Governor for more than two years, while as many have been pending for over a year.

The state government further listed in the petition, the bills pending consideration of the Governor and the time elapsed since its presentation:

University Laws Amendment Bill (1st Amendment) 2021 -23 months


University Laws Amendment Bill (1st Amendment) 2021-23 months


University Laws Amendment Bill (2nd Amendment) 2021 [APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University (Mal)] -23 months


Kerala Co-operative Societies Amendment Bill 2022 [MILMA] -14 months


University Laws Amendment Bill 2022 -12 months


Kerala LokAyukta Amendment Bill 2022-12 months


University Laws Amendment Bill 2022 -9 months


Public Health Bill 2021 -5 months

As per the petitioner, the Constitution mandated that the Governor must handle the presented Bill promptly, typically within a few weeks.

The reason for this was that the State Legislature, through its elected representatives, had already deliberated on the Bill and determined the public interest, which necessitated its swift conversion into law as an integral part of state governance.

The Kerala government said that many of the Bills involved immense public interest and provided for welfare measures, which would stand deprived and denied to the people of the state due to the delay.

It sought declaration from the Apex Court that the Governor was bound to dispose of every bill presented to him within a reasonable time and without any delay.

The writ petition further sought a specific declaration that the Governor of Kerala had failed in the exercise of his constitutional powers and duties by delaying the consideration of pending bills on time.

It said the conduct of the Governor in keeping Bills pending for long and indefinite periods of time was also manifestly arbitrary and violated Article 14 of the Constitution.

It further defeated the rights of people of the state under Article 21 of the Constitution by denying them the benefits of welfare legislation enacted by the State Assembly, added the plea.

(Case title: State of Kerala vs Governor for State of Kerala)

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