T.N. government moves Supreme Court against Governor Ravi over delay in clearing Bills

The State urged the Supreme Court to declare the ‘inaction, omission, delay and failure to comply with the constitutional mandate by the Governor’ as illegal and arbitrary

Updated - November 01, 2023 12:41 pm IST

Published - October 31, 2023 10:57 am IST - NEW DELHI

File picture of Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi

File picture of Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi | Photo Credit: B. Velankanni Raj

The Tamil Nadu government has moved a writ petition in the Supreme Court against Governor R.N. Ravi for creating a “constitutional deadlock” by inexplicably delaying or even failing to consider and assent to crucial Bills passed by the Legislature and stymieing day-to-day governance in a way which is threatening to bring administration in the State to a grinding halt.

The State said the Governor had positioned himself as a political rival to the legitimately elected government. The Governor’s inactions have caused an impasse between the constitutional head of the State and the elected government of the State. The Governor is toying away with the citizen’s mandate, the petition said.

“The Governor by not signing remission orders, day-to-day files, appointment orders, approving recruitment orders, granting approval to prosecute Ministers, MLAs involved in corruption including transfer of investigation to the CBI by the Supreme Court and Bills passed by the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly is bringing the entire administration to a grinding halt and creating adversarial attitude by not cooperating with the State administration,” the State said in its petition, represented by senior advocate P. Wilson and advocate Sabarish Subramanian.

The State urged the Supreme Court to declare the “inaction, omission, delay and failure to comply with the constitutional mandate by the Governor of Tamil Nadu” as illegal and arbitrary.

The “unreasonable mala fide exercise of power” by the Governor to neither consider Bills passed and forwarded to him by the State Legislature for his assent was unconstitutional.

“’Assent’ of the Governor/President do not involve any element of discretion of the individuals occupying the posts but the ‘assent’ should only be based on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers,” the State reminded.

‘Fix deadline’

The State sought the Supreme Court to fix a deadline or an “outer time limit” for Governor Ravi to consider the Bills and government orders pending with his office.

Further, the State noted that the Governor has failed to accord sanction for prosecution and investigation into cases of corruption involving moral turpitude of public servants and issues pertaining to the premature release of prisoners.

“Various applications for appointment of the Chairman and members of the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission [TNPSC] are still pending with the Governor,” the State pointed out one instance of rift.

The TNPSC is functioning with merely four members and without a Chairman. One of the members is holding the additional charge of Chairman.

According to the petition, frequent reminders were sent to the Principal Secretary to the Governor along with a copy of TNPSC Regulations, 1954 on August 17 for carrying out these appointments, but the Governor returned the file on September 27 with a note raising some queries that are “against established practices for selection of constitutional posts”. Despite further efforts by the State to justify the appointment proposal, the Governor returned the files “wrongfully without proper reasoning” on October 27.

The State accused the Governor of “politically motivated conduct” for denying sanction to probe authorities in corruption cases against public servants despite finding prima facie evidence against them.

“This includes the CBI inquiry that the Supreme Court approved and that the Madras High Court ordered,” the petition said.

It said a delegation of elected representatives led by the State Law Minister had to meet the President to hand over a letter of the Chief Minister seeking her intervention to direct the Governor to conduct himself in accordance with the Constitution.

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