Recently, the High Court of Madras has held that when a Bill is presented to the Governor for his assent, then the Governor should make a decision as soon as possible.
The Court observed that even though under Article 361 of the Constitution protects the Constitutional Authority, in the instant case, a decision should have been taken by the Governor after taking into consideration the future of students who are studying in Government schools, as soon as possible, as mentioned under Article 200 of the Constitution.
Hon’ble Judges further observed that as per Assento to Bills( Article 200 ), the Constitutional Authority has to make a decision as soon as possible when a Bill is presented for his assent.
On the issue regarding the protection granted to the Constitutional Authority from answering or appearing before any Court, the Bench opined that the said protection had been given by the framers of the Constitution who had hoped that the Appointees would perform their constitutional functioning promptly and will now be put into any circumstances where they will be questioned by a Court or asked to provide an explanation.
The statements mentioned above were made in a writ petition where directions were sought from the Governor regarding admission to UG Courses in Medicine, Indian Medicine, Dentistry and Homeopathy in Tamil Nadu, on preferential basis to Students of Government Schools Bill,2020
Contentions of the Petitioner:-
Petitioner had argued that the bill was kept pending by the Governor for two months even though it was passed unanimously by the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
Counsel for the petitioner pointed out that the bill was an important step to ensure that students from Government schools get a fair chance to secure admissions in Medical Schools.
It was argued that only a minuscule number of students from government schools have been able to qualify for NEET exam and in the 2017 NEET exam, only 14 students from government school were able to crack the NEET exam.
The Court’s question
After taking note of the submissions, the Court asked the Advocate General why a decision was not taken by the Constitutional Authority, learned AG drew Court’s attention to Article 361 of the Constitution( Protection of President and Governors).
It was submitted that as per Article 361 a protection had been extended to the Governor and he was not answerable to the Court of Law.
Decision of the Court
Hon’ble Court agreed that the Governor was not answerable to the Court but observed that as the future of students from government schools and marginalised sections of the society was at stake; the Governor should take a decision promptly as provided under Article 200 of the Constitution of India.
Case Nos.: WP (MD)Nos.14403 and 14405 of 2020 WP (MD)Nos.14403 and 14405 of 2020
Date of Order: 29.10.2020
Coram: Hon’ble Justice N. Kirubakaran and Hon’ble Justice B. Pugalendhi