The Kerala government has moved a writ petition in the Supreme Court against Governor Arif Mohammed Khan for alleged inaction on his part to eight bills passed by the state legislature and presented to Governor for his assent under Article 200 of the Constitution. With this, Arif Mohammed Khan will be the third Governor to face similar petitions in the top court alleging delay in clearing of bills, after Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi and Punjab’s Governor Banwarilal Purohit.
As per the petition, three bills have been pending before the Governor for more than two years. “The conduct of the governor as would presently be demonstrated 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”, the petition read.
The Pending Bills include University Laws Amendment Bill (1st amendment) 2021 Bill no 50, University Laws Amendment Bill ( 1st amendment) 2021 Bill no 54, University Laws Amendment Bill ( 2nd amendment) 2021, Kerala Co-operative Societies Amendment Bill 2022, University Laws Amendment Bill 2022, Kerala Lokayukta Amendment Bill 2022, University Laws Amendment Bill 2022 and Public Health Bill 2021. Earlier, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan pointed out, “As per the constitution, the Governor cannot unnecessarily delay the bills sent to him after the Assembly passes them.”
Following this, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan raised concerns that CM Vijayan does not regularly provide updates on government activities, which he says is the constitutional duty of the Chief Minister. In a similar move, the Tamil Nadu government had earlier moved the top court accusing Governor RN Ravi of obstructing the Legislative Assembly from carrying out its duties.
In its petition, the state government alleged that the governor has not only kept multiple bills pending but has also not sanctioned the investigation and prosecution in several corruption cases. Also, the Punjab Government moved the Supreme Court against Governor Banwarilal Purohit for withholding his approval of Bills.
However, following this, Governor Purohit on Tuesday gave his assent to two Bills including The Punjab Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2023, and the Indian Stamp (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2023.