Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government has moved the Supreme Court against delay by governor RN Ravi in assenting bills passed by the state legislature saying it has brought the entire administration to a grinding halt and claimed that he has positioned himself as a “political rival” to the legitimately elected government.
The state’s plea contended that 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 CBI by Supreme Court, bills passed by 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 plea said the governor “has positioned himself as a political rival to the legitimately elected government by hindering and obstructing the legislative assembly's ability to carry out its legislative duties by unjustly and excessively delaying the consideration of bills that the assembly has passed”. The state government said the governor’s inactions have caused a constitutional deadlock between the constitutional head of the state and the elected government of the state, and that by not acting upon their constitutional functions, the governor is toying away with the citizen’s mandate.
The state government urged the apex court to pass a direction to declare that the delay in assent of the bills passed and forwarded by the Tamil Nadu state legislature to him and the non-consideration of files, government orders and policies forwarded by the state government for his signature is unconstitutional, illegal, arbitrary, unreasonable besides malafide exercise of power.
The Tamil Nadu government also sought direction from the Supreme Court to stipulate the outer time limit for the governor to consider Bills passed by the Legislature sent for his assent under Article 200 of the Constitution. The state also sought directions for disposal of all the bills, files and government orders which are pending with the governor's office within a specified timeframe.
The state claimed that the governor has failed to accord sanction for prosecution and investigation regarding various crimes of corruption involving moral turpitude of public servants and issues pertaining to the premature release of prisoners. “By denying sanction when the investigative authorities have found prima facie evidence of corruption and have asked for permission to prosecute, the first respondent is engaging in politically motivated conduct”, said the plea.
According to Article 200, when a Bill passed by the legislature of a state is presented to the governor, he has four options: (a) he assents to the Bill; (b) he withholds assent; (c) he reserves the Bill for the consideration of the President; or (d) he returns the Bill to the legislature for reconsideration. According to official sources, the Tamil Nadu assembly has sent 12 bills, four prosecution sanctions and files related to the premature release of 54 prisoners from the state jails to Governor RN Ravi which are currently pending before the Raj Bhawan.
The DMK government in Tamil Nadu and Governor Ravi have been at loggerheads with each other on various issues especially the DMK's Dravidian model of governance. In January this year, the acerbic relation unfolded right on the floor of the state assembly when Governor Ravi skipped the state's name 'Tamil Nadu' and the names of Dravidian stalwarts in his address in the house thereby drawing condemnation from across the political spectrum in the state.
Amid an uproar against Ravi's unprecedented move, the Stalin led DMK government moved a resolution against the Governor in Legislative Assembly after which the Governor walked out of the House before the national anthem in a break from tradition.