Amid a stand-off, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Monday moved a resolution in the Assembly urging the Union Government and President to prescribe a “specific time limit” to Governors to give assent to the bills passed by the Legislatures, which are the “voice of the people of the State.”
The development comes as nearly 14 bills passed by the Assembly are pending with Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi. This also comes two weeks after the Assembly re-enacted the bill banning Online Rummy and regulating online games after the Governor returned it to the House.
Moving a Government Resolution, Stalin also came down heavily on the Governor for his comments that Raj Bhavan “withholding” a bill passed by the Assembly is considered “dead.”
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“Moreover, the controversial comments made by the Hon’ble Governor in a public forum about the Bills passed by the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and sent for assent, are not in accordance with the office he holds, the oath he took and interest of the state administration,” Stalin said. He also added that it is against the Constitution and the established conventions being followed, and “belittling the dignity of this House and undermining the supremacy of the Legislature in a Parliamentary democracy.”
The resolution also said the House records with “deep regret” the action of the Governor in indefinitely withholding many Bills without giving permission, passed by the Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu – on the basis of its sovereignty and the legislative responsibilities enshrined in the Constitution of India – “thereby functioning against the welfare of the people of Tamil Nadu.”
“…this august House unanimously insists that the Union Government and the Hon’ble President should immediately issue appropriate instructions to the Governor to assent to the Bills passed by this Assembly within a specific period,” the resolution moved by Stalin read.
The DMK government and the Governor are involved in a running battle over a host of issues. The latest standoff was triggered by the Governor’s statements during an interaction with civil service aspirants when he spoke about rights vested with him by the Constitution.
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“Withhold the assent – withholding doesn’t mean that I am holding it. Withholding has been defined by the Supreme Court as the bill (that) falls through, the bill is dead. It is a decent language used instead of the word ‘reject’. When you say ‘withhold’, the bill is dead,” the Governor had said on April 6.
In his reaction, Stalin accused the Governor of indulging in actions that would lead to deterioration of “administrative order” by making controversial remarks about the functioning of the Assembly in clear contradiction to his oath of office and against the interests of the state.
“Let the Governor not forget this and consider him as a great dictator,” the CM had said, adding that it is not good for someone whose position has been recognised by the Constitution to “withhold” something rather than boldly supporting or opposing it.