Guv vs Stalin tussle hots up in TN


Speaking on the Governor’s action, DMK spokesperson Saravanan alleged that the Governor is trying to “fool” the people of Tamil Nadu….reports Asian Lite News

Days after the Supreme Court expressed ‘ serious concern’ over governors’ inaction on Bills, Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi returned ten pending bills to the Assembly on Thursday.

The Supreme Cout on November 10, Friday, while hearing a plea filed by the Tamil Nadu Government, expressed “serious concern” over the delay by governors in giving assent to the bills passed by the state assemblies.

Two of the ten bills returned by Governor Ravi were passed by the previous AIADMK government.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Speaker M Appavu called for a special session on Saturday in which it is expected that the ruling DMK will readopt the returned bills and send them again for approval from the Governor.

Speaking on the Governor’s action, DMK spokesperson Saravanan alleged that the Governor is trying to “fool” the people of Tamil Nadu.

“The Governor has been made to eat humble pie. He has capitulated. The governor should have done this long back after the SC Chief Justice views the matter as a serious concern. The Governor has now returned the 10 bills. We are asking the Governor why don’t you go and tell the Supreme Court that if the Governor did not sign the bill, the bill is dead. Why doesn’t he go and make this plea in SC?,” Saravanan said.

He added, “He is trying to fool the people of Tamil Nadu. Now his bluff has been caught by the DMK Government and this is a victory for our leader M K Stalin. M K Stalin – 1, Governor – 0.”

Saravanan further targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Amit Shah over the Governor’s action.

He claimed that PM Modi and Amit Shah are “envious” of the development works done by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin so they are trying to hamper the smooth administration in the state through the governor.

“Governor under the dictator of BJP and RSS trying to scuttle the administration of Tamil Nadu government. PM Modi and Amit Shah are very envious of the development works of our Chief Minister. Through the office of the governor, they want to ensure there is no smooth administration,” the DMK leader added.

The petition filed by the Tamil Nadu government sought to declare that the inaction, omission, delay and failure to comply with the constitutional mandate by the Governor of Tamil Nadu/ first Respondent qua the consideration and assent of the bills passed and forwarded by the Tamil Nadu State Legislature to him and the non-consideration of files, Government orders and policies forwarded by the State Government for his signature is unconstitutional, illegal, arbitrary, unreasonable besides malafide exercise of power.

The top court has, however, sought a response from the Centre on the allegations against the Governor.

In its approach to the court, the ruling DMK said the Governor’s actions were “undermining the will of the people” by deliberately delaying bills sent for clearance and asked for a specific timeframe.

Among the pending bills is one that clips the Governor’s authority to appoint Vice Chancellors of state-run universities, and another seeking prosecution of ex-ministers from the AIADIMK.

Ravi had earlier also returned the NEET Exemption Bill, after much delay, and forwarded it to the President of India only after the Assembly passed the bill again. He adopted a similar stance over a bill seeking a ban on online gaming. “Withholding bills is a courteous way of saying no…” he said.

Ravi has also stoked controversy in other spaces, including by promoting Sanatan Dharm – the subject of a row after Tamil Nadu minister Udhayanidhi Stalin’s comments on caste discrimination.

He had also avoided reading names of activists BR Ambedkar and EV Periyar, and former Tamil Nadu Chief Ministers CN Annadurai, K Kamaraj and K Karunanidhi, from a speech in the Assembly.

The speech was given to him by the state government. Stalin’s government later passed a resolution to not formally record Mr Ravi’s version of the speech. Earlier, the Governor also touched a raw nerve when he suggested the state name be changed to Thamizhagam.

Tamil Nadu isn’t the only state to have moved the Supreme Court against their respective governors.

The others include Kerala and Punjab. With reference to the situation in the latter state, the court told Governor Banwarilal Purohit he is “playing with fire”. This was after senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi said Mr Purohit had delayed seven bills, including one fiscal management and education.

Tamil Nadu’s petition

The crux of Tamil Nadu’s complaint centres around Ravi’s alleged “inaction, omission, delay, and failure” to accord assent to Bills approved by the legislature, alongside the non-consideration of various critical government documents and orders.

In its petition, the state administration said the Governor “has positioned himself as a political rival to the legitimately elected” Tamil Nadu government and asserted that the Governor’s actions should not be driven by personal discretion but must reflect “the satisfaction of the Council of Ministers on whose aid and advice the President or the Governor generally exercises all his powers and functions”. Hearing the petition that claimed the Governor’s action was “resulting in a near-standstill of administrative operations,” the Supreme Court said he cannot sit on key Bills passed by the legislature.

Constitutional dilemma

The standoff between the Tamil Nadu government and R N Ravi highlights a significant constitutional dilemma about the role and powers of the Governor. While a Governor is expected to approve Bills passed by the Assembly, returning Bills en masse raises questions about the balance of power between the state and the Central authorities. The Governor’s actions, perceived as delays in granting approval, have been perceived as a potential overreach by Raj Bhavan.

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