The Kerala government has sought a declaration from the Supreme Court that Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has “failed to exercise his Constitutional powers and duties” in holding the Bills passed by the State Legislature for a long and indefinite period.
Kerala raised the demand in a special leave petition moved before the Supreme Court on November 2, 2023.
T.P. Ramakrishnan, MLA, too filed a petition before the apex court on the issue.
The Kerala government argued that the Governor subverted the Constitution and acted in a manifestly arbitrary manner by keeping the Bills passed by the State Legislature for an indefinite period. It also sought to get a declaration from the apex court that the Governor was bound to dispose of every Bill presented to him within a reasonable time. The Governor shall also be directed to dispose of the pending Bills without any further delay, the State submitted.
Of the eight Bills passed by the Legislature, three were pending with the Governor for more than two years, and three others for more than one year. The conduct of the Governor threatened to defeat and subvert the very fundamentals and basic foundations of the Constitution, including the rule of law and democratic good governance, Kerala argued in the petition.
It further pointed out that the Kerala Private Forest (Vesting and Assignment) Bill, 2023, which was presented to the Governor on April 6, 2023, was disposed of by him on September 18, which indicated that the non-disposal of the earlier Bills was a conscious act.
The Governor, who failed to exercise the Constitutional provisions regarding the Bills presented to him and as mentioned in Article 200, appeared to be of the view that granting assent or otherwise dealing with Bills was a matter entrusted to him in his absolute discretion, to decide whenever he pleases, the State submitted.
A Governor who acts in gross disregard and violation of the provisions of the Constitution cannot be said to be functioning in the discharge of his duties as a Governor, pointed out the Kerala government in the petition.
The secretary to the Governor and the Union of India were also made parties to the petition.