Set time limit to Governor to grant assent to Bills, T.N. Assembly urges Centre, President

Chief Minister Stalin accuses Governor of functioning with political motives and converting the ‘Raj Bhavan into a Political Bhavan’

April 10, 2023 01:51 pm | Updated 08:31 pm IST - Chennai

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin | Photo Credit: VEDHAN M

The Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly on Monday adopted a resolution moved by Chief Minister M.K. Stalin urging the Union Government and President Droupadi Murmu to issue appropriate instructions to Governor R.N. Ravi, to give his assent to Bills passed by the Assembly, within a specific period.

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said he was under a compulsion to move a resolution against the Governor for the second time. He reiterated that “unwarranted circumstances” were not created by the government. Accusing the Governor of functioning with political motives and converting the “Raj Bhavan into a Political Bhavan”, he recalled the observation of the Justice Rajmannar Committee that “it is an appropriate time to abolish the post of Governor and the Governor should be a detached figure.”

In January this year, the Assembly had moved a resolution disapproving of the Governor’s selective deviation from the prepared text, of his customary address to the House.

Last week, on April 7, Governor R.N. Ravi had said, that if a Governor withholds assent to a Bill passed by the Assembly, it means the “Bill is dead”.

Before Mr. Stalin moved the resolution, Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan, who is also the Leader of the House, moved a resolution to suspend certain rules of the Assembly so that the resolution against the Governor could be taken up for discussion.

Legislators of the AIADMK, the main Opposition party staged a walkout even before the resolution was moved alleging that Speaker M. Appavu had not accepted their demand to recognise the Deputy leader of the Opposition. Leader of Opposition Edappadi K. Palaniswami also alleged that live telecast of the Assembly proceedings had been denied to Opposition leaders, while the replies of State Ministers were telecast in detail.

Tamil Nadu Speaker M. Appavu ordered voting on the resolution, since three-fourth of the members of the House need to support a resolution as per Rule 287 of the Assembly Rules. The doors of the Assembly were closed for the voting, which was done by counting the members in favour of, and against the resolution. As many as 144 of the 146 members present in the House voted in favour of moving the resolution. Only two MLAs of the BJP, M.R. Gandhi and C. Saraswathi, who were present in the House, opposed it and subsequently, staged a walkout.

The objective of the resolution, the Chief Minister, said was to establish the legislative power of the Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu to urge the Governor to refrain from continuously acting against the interests of the people of Tamil Nadu and thereby tarnishing the principles of democracy and the sovereignty of the Legislative Assembly.

Mr. Stalin also urged the Union Government and the President to prescribe a specific time limit to Governors to give their assent to Bills passed by egislators, who are the voice of the people of the State. He said the government, having come to power with an overwhelming mandate of the people of Tamil Nadu, had the Constitutional responsibility and democratic duty to fulfill the aspirations and needs of the people.

“This august House records with deep regret the action of the Governor in indefinitely withholding many Bills without giving permission, passed by the Legislative Assembly—on the basis of sovereignty and the legislative responsibilities enshrined in the Constitution -–thereby functioning against the welfare of the people of the State,” he alleged.

The Chief Minister also made a reference to the Governor’s recent remarks about Bills sent to him for assent, and said: the “controversial comments made by the Governor in public forums about the Bills passed by the Assembly and sent for assent, are not in accordance with the office he holds, the oath he took and interest of the state administration.” He added: “Besides it is against the Constitution and the established convention being followed and belittling the dignity of this House and undermining the supremacy of the Legislature in a Parliamentary democracy.”

Speaker Appavu, after a subsequent voice vote declared that the resolution was adopted unanimously.

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