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Pending Bills And Role Of Governor In The Light Of Supreme Court Directions

The same pattern is followed in the State Government as that is followed in the Central Government that means a parliamentary system. As we all know that the Executive Head is Constitutional Head who has to conduct as per the advice or recommendation of the Council of Ministers. Article 153 of the Indian Constitution provides the office of Governor.

Every States have to be a Governor and the executive power of the State shall be granted for the Governor and he will exercise the executive power of his subordinate office included a minister of the state or directly as per Article 154 of the Indian Constitution.

The executive power of the respective State can be extended to concerns in accordance with the legislature of the State has authority to make laws on specific matters and every executive acts of the State Government would be considered in the name of the Governor according to Article 162 of the Indian Constitution. Governor has vested many Constitutional powers as Executive, Financial, Legislature and Judicial. In this contemporary era, we have seen many controversies between Governor and State Governments regarding pending bills before the State Legislative Assembly.

Recently, the Speaker of West Bengal State Legislature Mr. Biman Banerjee declared that there are total 22 Bills that are pending over last 12 and half years from the Raj Bhavan. This paper tries to evaluate the legislative power of Governor and State Government in the light of SC directions.

Legislative Power of Governor

Governor has power to summon each Houses of the State Legislature to assemble at such time and location as he thinks fit. However, it would not expire six months between first in the next session and the last sitting in one session of each Houses. According to Article 174 (1) and (2) of the Indian Constitution, Governor may postpone the session each Houses and he has right to address the State Legislative Assembly, without his assent Bill would not become law. If Governor seeks then he may reserve specific Bills for the President's assent.

All Ordinance must be laid each House of the Legislature of State and would cease to perform at the six weeks expiry date from the re-assembly of the State Legislature or if a resolution disapproving prior six weeks that is passed by the State Legislative Assembly. On the other side, if Governor seeks then he can revoke the Ordinance at any time before six weeks expiry and Ordinance has the same validity that is issued by the Governor as an act of the State Legislature.

Besides, he has extensively Legislative power that is Ordinance making power and it is similar as vested to the President.

If Governor thinks any requirement when the State Legislative Assembly is not in session at such time he may take immediate step to issue an Ordinance.

However, without prior instructions from the President he would not issue an Ordinance in cases:
  • When Bill should have needed his prior sanction,
  • When there is a requirement for the assent of the President to be reserved under the Indian Constitution.

Pending Bills in West Bengal

Total 22 bills have been pending yet in West Bengal State Legislative Assembly and from there 12 Bills are pending for the clarification with State Government, 01 Bill has been Approved by the Hon'ble President of India with specific requirements. Besides, 02 Bills are awaiting for the consideration of Hon'ble President of India. Another, 07 Bills relating to University matters that are sub-judice issue.

The Governor of West Bengal has undertaken the Simplified Programme Of Early And Effective Disposal (Speed) for the pending Bills that are need to be clarification from the State Government and wherein spot conclusions would be accepted on the ground of meetings & discussions with the concerned Secretary and/or Minister.

SC Directions on Pending Bills

The nation is witnessing the major controversy on the extra constitutional power of Governors for which the Supreme Court has asked the Governors not to keep bills pending for long which might surplusage the very often in democracy. Various state governments moved to the Apex Court for getting directives as Governors where allegedly sitting on the bills which were passed by the State Assembly.

The problem has arrived in West Bengal but the state government has moved the Supreme Court route and West Bengal had passed the bills replacing Governor and Chancellor and amending the bills for empowering the Chief Minister to be Chancellor of state in run universities but the Governor has a disagree to give assent of this bill. There have been a number of legal cases in this matter that are Sub-judice.

The bench of CJI DY Chandrachud held that the action would be inconsistent if Governor failed to keep a bill duly handed over for the period of indeterminate. He has no liberty to hold a bill pending for the undefined period without any activity.

Hon'ble Supreme Court also pointed out that Governor should return the bill for a review to the State Legislature if he determines not to grant his approval for the wrong interpretation of constitutional provision to it. The constitutional democracy arrives when Governor would not to keep a bill pending that made by the respective elected government without any valid ground. In the last few months, Kerala, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Punjab were moved to the Apex Court for wanting the directives on this matter.

The Hon'ble Supreme Court made it very clear that Governors are not the elected members, they are nominated person. They have enjoyed the terms of office as long for the confidence of President.

The terms of the office of Governors are conducted by the President and they are nominated official in democratic set-up as India is the biggest democracy in world so if a State Assembly passes a bill but the bill is kept pending for years by the Governor that is an attack for democracy indirectly, for which Supreme Court pointed out such activities should not be done by the Governors.

They should cooperate to the state assembly Speaker & Chief Minister if there is any conflict and lack of clarity in certain matters then come to a discussion for passing the bills quickly so that people can benefit through new laws and amending of the bills.

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