SC issues notice on plea challenging West Bengal Governor’s decision to not give assent to Varsity Amendment bill

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice on a plea filed against Governor C.V. Ananda Bose’s decision to not give assent to the West Bengal University Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2022.

Agreeing to examine the special leave petition, a bench, headed by CJI D.Y. Chandrachud, sought, within four weeks, the response of the Principal Secretary to the Governor, the Centre and the state’s Principal Secretary, Higher Education.

In September last year, the Calcutta High Court had sought an affidavit from the Raj Bhavan on a PIL filed against Governor Bose’s decision to not give assent to the Bill proposing to replace the Governor with the Chief Minister as the Chancellor of all state universities.

Later, a division bench of Chief Justice T.S. Sivagnanm and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharya suspended its earlier direction and decided to first examine the maintainability of the petition.

The Bill was passed by the Assembly in June 2022. Although the bill was forwarded to the Governor’s House on June 15 same year, the Governor has not given his assent to it to date.

According to Article 200 of the Constitution, 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.

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