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Supreme Court questions Tamil Nadu Governor for referring bills to President after withholding assent

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The Supreme Court on Friday came down heavily on Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi for referring seven Bills passed by the State Legislature to the President, after withholding assent on them.

The Bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra made the oral observation, while hearing the petition filed by the State of Tamil Nadu.

The Apex Court observed that the Governor cannot refer the Bills to the President after the Assembly has re-enacted them following the Governor’s declaration of withholding the assent.

It said that as per Article 200 of the Constitution, a Governor could exercise only three options. He/she could either grant assent, withhold assent or refer it to the President.

After exercising any of these options, the Governor cannot exercise another option. noted the Bench and listed the matter for further hearing on December 11.

The Supreme Court had earlier sought response from the Union of India on two petitions filed by the States of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, alleging that the Governors were delaying bills passed by the respective State Assemblies.

Earlier on November 10, the top court of the country reprimanded Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi for delaying Bills passed by the State Legislature. 

Calling it a matter of very serious concern, the Bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra told the Tamil Nadu Governor Ravi not to deflect the course of bills passed by a duly elected Assembly. 

Noting that 12 bills were pending with Governor Ravi, the Apex Court issued notice to the Union government on the writ petition filed by the State of Tamil Nadu. 

The Bench further took in view the fact that several decisions taken by the Tamil Nadu government regarding the grant of premature release to prisoners, sanction for prosecution and appointment of members to the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission were pending with the Governor.

The top court of the country sought the presence of the Attorney General for India or the Solicitor General of India for assistance and listed the writ petition for further hearing on November 20.

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