In a significant legal move, the Kerala Government has approached the Supreme Court of India, seeking a declaration that Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has failed to fulfill his Constitutional powers and duties in dealing with Bills passed by the State Legislature.
Special Leave Petition Filed
The Kerala Government filed a special leave petition before the Supreme Court on November 2, 2023, raising concerns about the Governor’s handling of pending Bills. T.P. Ramakrishnan, a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), also submitted a separate petition to address this issue.
Allegations of Subverting the Constitution
The Kerala Government has alleged that the Governor acted in a manifestly arbitrary manner, subverting the Constitution by withholding Bills passed by the State Legislature for an indefinite period. The State is seeking a declaration from the Supreme Court that the Governor is obligated to dispose of all Bills presented to him within a reasonable time frame.
Immediate Action Requested
Additionally, the Kerala Government has requested that the Governor be directed to promptly address the pending Bills without further delay.
Lengthy Delay in Bill Disposal
The State Government pointed out that of the eight Bills passed by the Legislature, three have been pending with the Governor for over two years, and three others for more than one year. This extended delay is seen as a threat to the core principles of the Constitution, such as the rule of law and democratic governance.
The Kerala Private Forest (Vesting and Assignment) Bill, 2023, which was presented to the Governor on April 6, 2023, was only disposed of by him on September 18. This indicates that the Governor’s inaction on the earlier Bills was a deliberate choice.
Violation of Constitutional Provisions
The Kerala Government argued that the Governor has disregarded the Constitutional provisions regarding Bills presented to him, as specified in Article 200. It appears that the Governor considered the grant of assent or any action on Bills as a matter of absolute discretion, to be decided at his convenience.
Governor’s Role Questioned
The petition emphasizes that a Governor who acts with gross disregard for and violation of the Constitution cannot be said to be fulfilling their duties as a Governor.