The Governor should not think he is a great dictator, says Chief Minister

The constitutional conclusion is that the Governor is but a shorthand expression for the State government and the President is an abbreviation of the Central government, says Stalin, quoting a judgment of the Supreme Court 

Updated - April 07, 2023 01:49 am IST

Published - April 07, 2023 12:48 am IST

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. K. Stalin. File

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. K. Stalin. File | Photo Credit: The Hindui

Accusing Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi of functioning continuously against the oath taken by him and the interests of the State, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said on Thursday that the Governor should not think of himself as “the great dictator”.

Reacting to Mr. Ravi’s remarks on the role of Governor in a legislature, Mr. Stalin quoted the Supreme Court order in Shamser Singh vs State of Punjab (1975) that “the constitutional conclusion is that the Governor is but a shorthand expression for the State government and the President is an abbreviation of the Central government.”

In a statement issued in the evening, the Chief Minister alleged that the Governor, who used to express controversial views on public platforms with a view to creating confusion in the minds of people, had now spoken against the truth on Assembly proceedings to sabotage the administration.

“He has the habit of not adhering to his administrative duties and responsibilities by not granting assent in time to Bills, ordinances and amendments proposed by people’s representatives... He has never explained the reasons for his decisions. A total of 14 files are pending with him,” Mr. Stalin alleged.

He said the Governor’s actions had a crippling effect. “If we put pressure, he will raise a question for the sake of it and send the files [back] to the government. He thinks his duty ends there,” he said.

The Chief Minister said the Governor had raised a “useless question” on the Bill to ban online gambling that was passed in the Assembly to protect the lives of ordinary people. “Subsequently, he said the State government had no right to enact the law. He refuses to accept the argument of the Union Minister that the State government has the right to enact the law because he does not have the mind to accept it. It is really shocking that the Governor’s mind is not moved by so many deaths [of people who allegedly fell into a debt trap after getting hooked to online rummy],” Mr. Stalin said.

The Chief Minister said the Governor, who was behaving as if he had a sound knowledge of law, had no right to send back a Money Bill.

“The Bill against online gambling was approved by the Governor on October 17, 2022, accepted by the Assembly and certified as a Money Bill by the Speaker. He [the Governor] returned it on March 6, 2023. I leave it to people whether he has violated the Constitution by his action,” Mr. Stalin said.

According to him, it was unbecoming of a Governor to say that “when a Bill is withheld, it is dead”. “A Governor, who has taken the oath of secrecy, has revealed his administrative decision in a casual manner on a public platform. By his action, he has violated the Constitution,” he said.

Pointing out that a Governor could send back all other Bills than Money Bills, he said, “If the Assembly readopts the Bill and sends the same to him, he cannot reject it.” “It is against law if the Governor does not give assent to a Bill even after the government replied to the clarifications raised by him. We have to assume that it is an attempt to cripple the administration of the State,” he said.

Mr. Stalin said the Governor had set a very bad precedent by sharing the details of his decision on a public forum and justifying it. “The Governor will be true to the Constitution, on which he has taken oath, only if he takes back his views. It is not fair on the part of the Governor to express views that denigrate the Assembly, the voice of the Tamil Nadu people. It is also not fair to the post he holds. I hope he will deliver his constitutional duties,” the Chief Minister added.

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