T.N. Governor cannot refer re-enacted Bills to President, says SC

The Supreme Court on Friday said a governor cannot refer to the president Bills that they have previously withheld assent to, advising Tamil Nadu governor R.N. Ravi to resolve the impasse with the state government over 10 Bills.

A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud made the verbal suggestion to attorney general R. Venkataramani.

Ravi had withheld assent to 10 Bills, that pertained to modifications in state university laws, which the legislature passed again without any amendments but later referred them to the President, just days after the top court questioned the governor for sitting on them.

On November 13, the governor said he had withheld his assent to the 10 Bills, which also took away the governor’s powers, as chancellor of state universities, to appoint vice-chancellors.

Subsequently, the state assembly convened a special session on November 18 and passed them again. On November 20, the Supreme Court asked the governor about the pending Bills. On November 28, the governor referred them to the president.

CJI Chandrachud said on Friday that under Article 200 of the constitution, the governor has only three options — grant assent, withhold assent or refer it to the president.