#Tamil Nadu Assembly Readopts 10 Bills Returned By Governor Amid Oppn Walkout


The Tamil Nadu assembly on Saturday readopted the 10 bills returned by governor RN Ravi earlier this week, amid a walkout by Opposition MLAs.

The move came days after the Supreme Court raised serious concerns and sought a response from the Union government on a petition filed by the Tamil Nadu government against the governor’s delay in processing the 12 bills passed by the state legislature, besides withholding several other files relating to sanction and remission.

According to Article 200 of the Constitution, if a bill is passed again by the House, with or without any amendment, then the “governor shall not withhold assent therefrom”.

The bills pertain to amendments in various laws governing state universities, giving more power to the state government over the appointment of vice-chancellors, and providing for the establishment of a university for siddha, ayurveda, unani, yoga & naturopathy and homoeopathy.

Addressing the assembly on Saturday, chief minister MK Stalin moved a resolution to reconsider the 10 bills, two of which were adopted by the House in 2020 and 2023, respectively, while six others were passed last year.

“He (the Governor) returned the bills due to his personal whims and fancies... It is undemocratic and anti-people to not give assent,” he said. “This assembly feels that withholding of assent…and returning it without giving any reasons is not acceptable,” he added.

Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government of politicising the post of governors in states ruled by the Opposition, Stalin said: “The post of governor must be abolished. He is doing everything to obstruct our work.”

The CM maintained that it was the duty of a Governor to give assent to bills passed by a House that has an elected government. “He can seek legal or administrative clarification from the government if required and the government has to give it,” he added.

“At no instance have such clarifications been not given. In such a situation, him (governor) not giving assent to the Bills passed by the Assembly due to his whims and fancies and returning them amounts to insulting the people of Tamil Nadu and this House,” Stalin said.

Earlier, Ravi returned two bills – one to ban online gambling with stakes and another to abolish the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). However, the state government convened special assembly sessions in both occasions and re-adopted the bills.

The bill to abolish NEET was referred to President Droupadi Murmu for her assent in May last year. On October 27, chief minister MK Stalin handed over a representation to Murmu, reiterating the government’s request to accord assent to the bill. While the anti-gambling legislation was cleared by the governor and notified by the government in April this year, the Madras high court upheld only some portions of the law.

In a petition filed in the Supreme Court on October 31, state chief secretary Shiv Das Meena alleged Ravi was “toying away with the citizen’s mandate” and sought directions to Raj Bhavan to dispose of all pending legislations and files forwarded by the assembly and government within a specified timeframe.

Meanwhile, soon after the session began on Saturday, Opposition MLAs staged a walkout.

Leader of Opposition, Edappadi K Palaniswami, demanded to know about the reason for a special meeting to re-adopt the Bills when the government had already moved the apex court on the matter.

BJP’s floor leader Nainar Nagendran said: “They should be concentrating on people’s problems but instead they seem to be highlighting the issues between the governor and the chief minister.”

Expelled AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam (OPS) said that there should be a good relationship between the government and the governor for the benefit of the state.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-led Tamil Nadu government has been locked in a standoff with the governor over various issues, including the latter’s pending assent to the legislations.

In a petition filed in the top court on October 31, Tamil Nadu chief secretary Shiv Das Meena alleged Ravi was “toying away with the citizen’s mandate” and sought directions to Raj Bhavan to dispose of all pending legislations and files forwarded by the assembly and government within a specified timeframe.

“The issues raised are of great concern. From the tabulated statement, it appears that as many as 12 bills submitted to the governor under Article 200 have not elicited any further action and other matters regarding proposal for grant of sanction, premature release and appointment of public service commission are pending. We issue notice to the Union of India represented by the secretary in the ministry of home affairs,” a bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, ordered on November 10.

The top court’s remarks came at a time when Raj Bhavans in several states have been locked in confrontation with the elected government. In the last few months, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, besides Punjab, have approached the Supreme Court, seeking directives to their respective governors over pending legislations.

While hearing the Punjab government’s petition on November 6, the top court said that governors must remember that they are not the elected representatives of states and have limited power over legislative actions of an elected government. It also said that governors should not compel the state governments to pursue legal recourses each and every time the latter exercised their legislative powers.

On November 2, the Tamil Nadu government filed a second writ petition in the top court, challenging three notifications issued by the governor for a search committee to appoint vice-chancellors to three universities.

(With inputs from agencies)


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