Supreme Court issues notice in Kerala's plea against Governor’s Delay In Granting Assent To Bills

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"The governors have to realize that they are part of the state legislature..", Senior Advocate KK Venugopal submitted today on behalf of the Kerala Government

A CJI DY Chandrachud led bench of the Supreme Court has issued notice in a plea by Kerala Government seeking appropriate orders in relation to the inaction on the part of the Governor of the State in relation to as many as 8 Bills passed by the State Legislature and presented to the Governor for his assent under Article 200 of the Constitution.


"It is submitted that the Governor as a matter of fact had promulgated three ordinances which were later converted into bills passed by the assembly...and 8 bills are pending before him for assent. Issue notice, returnable on Friday.", the bench also comprising Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra ordered.

The matter will now be heard on Friday, November 24.

It is the Kerala government's case that of the 8 pending bills, 3 Bills have remained pending with the Governor for more than 2 years, and 3 more in excess of a full year, the plea submits.

"Grave injustice is being done to the people of the State, as also to its representative democratic institutions (i.e. the State Legislature and the Executive) by the Governor, by keeping Bills pending for long periods of time, including 3 Bills for longer than 2 years. The Governor appears to be of the view that granting assent or otherwise dealing with Bills is a matter entrusted to him in his absolute discretion, to decide whenever he pleases. This is a complete subversion of the Constitution...", the petition submits.

Court has been told that the conduct of Governor Mohammad Arif Khan 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.

State of Kerala has further submitted that any of the Bills pending before the Governor involve immense public interest, and provide for welfare measures which would stand E deprived and denied to the people of the State to the extent of the delay.

The petition filed under Article 32 adds that strangely, a bill presented on April 6, 2023, i.e. the Kerala Private Forest (Vesting and Assignment) Bill, 2023 has been disposed of by the Governor on September 18, 2023 which indicates that the non-disposal of the earlier Bills presented to the Governor is a conscious act.

Notably, Kerala Government has also filed an SLP before the Supreme Court over their Governor Mohammad Arif Khan's delay in giving assent to bills being passed by the State Legislature.

The State has moved the SLP against a 2022 High Court ruling which rejected a petition by a Kochi-based lawyer challenging the Governor’s decision to indefinitely withhold the bills passed.

Few days back, the Tamil Nadu Government had also moved the Supreme Court over the inaction, omission, delay and failure to comply with the constitutional mandate by the Governor of Tamil Nadu to give his assent to the Bills passed and forwarded by the Tamil Nadu State Legislature to him.