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Sack Tamil Nadu Governor, sitting on Bills, questioning legislature: DMK

When a Governor, an unelected figure, opposes a popularly elected state government, it becomes a “constitutional perversion”, it stated.

Any kind of amendment which weakens the institution, the Governor must take a call because Governors are not rubber stamps," he said at the event in Kerala. (File)

Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK has urged the President to dismiss Governor R N Ravi, saying his conduct in the state has not been in keeping with the Constitution, and that he has not signed numerous Bills passed by the Assembly.

In a memorandum to President Droupadi Murmu — dated November 2, it was released Wednesday — the Secular Progressive Alliance, which includes the DMK, has attached a list of 20 Bills awaiting the Governor’s assent. Drawing the President’s attention to a “pressing matter of great urgency for the state and its people”, the memorandum stated: “The Constitution of India states that the executive power of the State vests in the Governor. The Governor, being a nominal head of the State, is however expected to exercise that power as per the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at the head of the State. He is the linchpin of the Constitutional apparatus of the State.”

“The Governor performs important constitutional functions, which require him to be impartial and a person of impeccable integrity… A Governor who does not have faith in any one of these ideals is not fit to hold constitutional office. It is also imperative that a Governor who turns political must cease to be a Governor,’’ it stated.

When a Governor, an unelected figure, opposes a popularly elected state government, it becomes a “constitutional perversion”, it stated.

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“The framers of the Constitution would never have imagined a situation where a Governor openly contradicts the policy of the elected State Government or impedes legislation passed by the legislature by indefinitely delaying assent or acts against Secularism,’’ it stated.

The Bills awaiting the Governor’s assent include The Tamil Nadu Fisheries University (Amendment) Bill, 2020; The Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (Amendment) Bill, 2020; The Tamil Nadu Co-operative Societies (Second Amendment) Act, 2022; The Tamil Nadu Universities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2022; The Chennai University (Amendment) Bill, 2022; The Tamil Nadu Dr Ambedkar Law University (Amendment) Bill, 2022; The Tamil University (Amendment) Bill, 2022; The Tamil Nadu Dr M G R Medical University, Chennai (Amendment) Bill, 2022; The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (Amendment) Bill, 2022; The Tamil Nadu District Municipalities (Amendment) Bill, 2022; and, the Tamil Nadu Private Colleges (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2022.

“We are pained to note that the Governor is unduly delaying assent to the Bills passed by the State Legislature. This amounts to interference in the administration of the State and transaction of business by the Legislature… The need, requirement or necessity of a Bill cannot be inquired into by the Governor. That is within the sole prerogative of the Legislature, which extensively debates the necessity of the Bill,’’ it stated.

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The Stalin-led government has been at loggerheads with Ravi over a number of issues, most particularly the NEET examination. The DMK’s 2021 election platform had also spoken of the exemption of the state from NEET, after a number of reported suicides by students.

“When the TN Admission to UG Medical Degree Courses Bill 2021 No 43 of 2021 (NEET Exemption Bill) was passed by TN Legislative Assembly and sent for his assent on 13.9.2021, instead of forwarding the Bill to the Hon’ble President as envisaged under Art 200/201, he sat over the Bill for several months.”

“In this regard all the leaders of major political parties in Tamil Nadu met your good self’s predecessor and gave a representation on 28.12.2021 and thereafter another representation was given to the Hon’ble Union Home Minister on 5.1.2022. Thereupon, Thiru R N Ravi instead of forwarding the aforesaid Bill to the Hon’ble President (since the Governor was not competent to give assent), usurped the powers of the Hon’ble President and questioned the wisdom of the Legislature and returned the Bill, which are ultra vires of the powers conferred on a Governor,’’ it stated.

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The DMK said that subsequently a special session of the Assembly had to be called to re-enact the NEET Exemption Bill and send it again to Ravi.

First published on: 09-11-2022 at 09:58 IST
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