NEW DELHI: At a time when states governed by opposition parties are protesting governors’ inaction on bills passed by the assembly, the Supreme Court on Monday reminded the state constitutional heads to bear in mind that Article 200 of the Constitution mandates them to either give assent or return bills “as soon as possible”.
Although the apex court did not, as demanded by Telangana, set a timeline for governors to either clear or return the bills, the bench’s “as soon as possible” reminder was recorded as an order by a bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha.
The bench was dealing with a petition filed by the Telangana government which had complained about governor Tamilisai Soundarajan sitting for long on 10 bills passed by the assembly. However, solicitor general Tushar Mehta informed the court that no bills were pending with the governor.
The bench referred to the first proviso of Article 200 — which states “provided that the governor may, as soon as possible after the presentation to him of the bill for assent, return the bill if it is not a money bill together with a message requesting that the House or Houses will reconsider the bill or any specified provisions thereof… as soon as possible” — and said the expression had a significance which should be borne in mind by the constitutional authorities, indicating that the governors were either unaware of it or were deliberately not heeding it.
This was recorded by the bench despite the SG protesting that it was unwarranted as the governor’s office had informed the SC that no bills were pending with the governor. It said two — Telangana Municipal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2022, and Telangana Public Employment (Regulation of Age of Superannuation) (Amendment), Bill 2022 — had been returned with the governor’s messages.
Good relationship between Governor, Chief Minister lacking in Telangana
In Telangana State Private Universities (Establishment and Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 2022, and Telangana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Bill, 2023, the governor has sought certain information or clarification and the same has been called from the state government, the governor’s office said.
It added that the Azamabad Industrial Area (Termination and Regulation of Leases) (Amendment) Bill, 2022, had not yet been submitted by the state’s law department for the consideration and assent of the governor.
When the SC was disposing of the petition based on the information given by the SG, Telangana counsel Dushyant Dave egged on the bench for a general ruling on the inordinately long time taken by governors in opposition-ruled to clear bills. “The elected governments in states cannot be put at the governor’s mercy,” Dave said and pointed to the mandate of Article 200. He also said governors of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, governed by BJP, were clearing bills expeditiously, within a month of these being sent to them.
This triggered a showdown between him and the SG, with the latter saying any further observation from the court was unnecessary and that “I can never match the shouting of Telangana counsel”. Dave responded in a raised voice, “I have not seen a worse SG than you in the last 40 years. You are allergic to me, and I am allergic to you.”
The Open Magazine of India by Artmotion Network (https://magazine.armotion.com/)