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Matter of serious concern, says SC on Tamil Nadu Governor's delay in clearing pending bills

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said that it is a matter of serious concern that the Tamil Nadu Governor has not acted upon 12 bills, 54 proposals of premature release, 10 appointments in the Public Service Commission and other proposals for sanctions for the prosecution of public servants.

A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra issued notice to the Union government through the Ministry of Home Affairs on a writ petition filed by the Tamil Nadu government.

After hearing senior advocate A M Singhvi, Mukul Rohatgi and P Wilson on behalf of the Tamil Nadu government over the pendency of proposals, the bench said, “It is a matter of serious concern”.

The court sought a response from the Centre and scheduled the matter for a hearing on November 20. It sought the assistance of Attorney General R Venkatramani or Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

Singhvi cited the pendency of 12 bills passed by the Legislative Assembly and sent to the Governor between January 13, 2020 and April 28, 2023 for assent.

Among other categories of pending matters are 54 files related to the premature release of life terms. The counsel also said out of 14 posts of the TN Public Service Commission, 10 posts are lying vacant in the absence of the Governor’s nod. Besides, some proposals for sanctions for prosecution have also been not acceded to.

Singhvi relied upon Article 200 of the Constitution which stated the Governor has to make the decision on pending bills “as soon as possible”.

In its petition, the Tamil Nadu government accused Governor R N Ravi of delay in assenting bills passed by the state legislature, which brought the entire administration to a grinding halt.

The plea claimed that the governor has positioned himself as a “political rival” to the legitimately elected government.

According to Article 200, when a bill passed by the legislature of a state is presented to the governor, he has four options: (a) he assents to the Bill; (b) he withholds assent; (c) he reserves the bill for the consideration of the President; or (d) he returns the bill to the legislature for reconsideration.

The state government listed 54 pending files related to the premature release of convicts, four files related to sanction for prosecution and 12 bills, including the one pending since January 9, 2020.

(Published 10 November 2023, 09:39 IST)

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