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Governors should clear bills as soon as possible: SC


Published on: April 24, 2023 | Updated on: April 25, 2023

Supreme Court of India (PTI)

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday observed that bills sent to the governor for assent must be returned "as soon as possible" and not sit over them, making state Legislative Assemblies wait indefinitely.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice P.S. Narasimha disposed of a plea filed by the state of Telangana against the alleged inordinate delay by governor Tamilisai Soundararajan in giving her assent to the bills passed by the Assembly.

The court’s order came on a writ petition filed before the top court by the K. Chandrashekar Rao-led BRS government, seeking direction to the governor for providing her assent to the 10 pending bills, out of which seven bills have been pending since September 2022 at the Raj Bhavan.

"The expression ‘as soon as possible’ has a significant constitutional content and it must be borne in mind by the constitutional authorities," said the court while referring to Article 200 of the Constitution.

Article 200 of the Constitution provides that after a Bill has been passed by the Legislative Assembly of a state, the same shall be presented to the governor for his assent. The governor may either declare that he assents to the Bill or may withhold his assent or reserve it for consideration by the President.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing the Telangana government, asked the court to pass directions "once and for all" to put the issue at rest.
"In Madhya Pradesh, bills are being assented to within one week, in Gujarat within one month. Telangana is an opposition state....so this is happening," he alleged.

Mr Mehta, representing the Telangana governor, objected to the insertion of the observation made by the court on deciding the bills as soon as possible. "It was not necessary, Milords!" he said.

The court said that it did not make the above observation regarding the expression "as soon as possible" in this particular case but merely referred to the constitutional provision contained in Article 200.