SC Defer to April 10 Hearing on Telangana Govt’s Plea for Direction to Governor to Give Assent to Pending Bills

The Supreme Court on Monday deferred to April 10 the hearing on the Telangana government’s plea seeking directions to the state governor to clear 10 bills that have been passed by the assembly but are awaiting gubernatorial assent.

A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala was told by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that he had some discussion with the governor on the issue and would make a statement on the next date of hearing.

“Mr. Solicitor General, you can have a word with the governor and make a statement on the next date of hearing. List the matter on April 10,” the bench said.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for the Telangana government, said that in Madhya Pradesh, the governor grants assent to bills within seven days while in Gujarat, bills are cleared within a month.

“Why is it being delayed in Telangana. I seek the intervention of the Solicitor General and he can advise the governor. What is the point in doing all this? Why can’t the court insist that the governor cannot sit like this on the bills? There is no communication at all. Two constitution bench judgements are there which say that the governor has to abide by the aid and advice of the council of ministers. It sends the wrong message,” he said.

Mehta said that there are certain communications but he would not like to elaborate further. “I will take further instructions and make a statement on the next date of hearing,” he said.

Dave said that it should be recorded in the order as people of the state are waiting for these bills to be cleared.

The bench, however, did not record anything in the order and simply adjourned the matter for further hearing on April 10.

On March 20, the top court sought the Centre’s response on the plea filed by the state government.

It had clarified that the court will not issue notice to the office of governor but would like to see the reply of the Union of India on the state government’s plea.

On March 14, the top court agreed to hear a petition filed by the Telangana government seeking directions to the state governor to clear 10 pending bills passed by legislative assembly but are awaiting gubernatorial assent.

The apex court had agreed to hear the plea, after Dave mentioned it for urgent listing, saying several bills of public importance are stuck.

The state government has said in its petition it is constrained to move the apex court under Article 32 of the Constitution in view of a “constitutional impasse” created on account of refusal of the governor to act on several bills passed by the state legislature.

It said Article 200 of the Constitution empowers the governor to either give assent to a bill passed by the state assembly or to withhold the assent or reserve the bill for consideration of the President.

“This power has to be exercised as soon as possible,” it said.

The state government said several bills passed by the assembly, including the Telangana Municipal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2022, Telangana Public Employment (Regulation of Age of Superannuation) Amendment Bill, 2022 and Telangana Universities Common Recruitment Board Bill, 2022, are awaiting Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan’s nod.

Soundararajan, a former chief of the BJP in Tamil Nadu, is locked in a running feud with the BRS government in Telangana.

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