In a significant development, the Tamil Nadu assembly has unanimously passed 10 bills that were previously returned without reasons by Governor RN Ravi. The move comes following Chief Minister MK Stalin’s resolution to revive these bills, aiming to limit the powers of the Governor by elevating vice-chancellors of state universities to the position of chancellor.
Stalin strongly criticized Ravi, asserting that withholding assent without providing reasons is unacceptable and undemocratic. He accused the Governor of acting based on personal whims, highlighting the ongoing tussle between the Tamil Nadu Raj Bhavan and the ruling DMK.
The bills, which had previously faced resistance, were swiftly passed again by the assembly, signaling a proactive stance by the ruling party. The BJP, with four MLAs, walked out, while the AIADMK, though supporting the move, walked out over a separate issue.
Stalin emphasized that the Governor cannot withhold assent if the bills are passed again in the assembly and sent to him. He alleged that non-BJP-ruled states are being targeted through Governors, implying interference by the Centre.
The strained relationship between the Tamil Nadu Raj Bhavan and the DMK has persisted for two years, with previous instances such as the return of the NEET exemption bill. The ruling DMK accuses the Governor of acting as an RSS/BJP agent, undermining the elected government’s initiatives.
In a recent Supreme Court hearing, the court expressed “serious concern” over the delay by governors in giving assent to bills passed by state assemblies. The Tamil Nadu government, in a petition filed on November 10, seeks a declaration that the Governor’s inaction and delay in considering bills is unconstitutional, illegal, and arbitrary. The court has sought a response from the Centre on these allegations against the Governor.
As the legal battle unfolds, the Tamil Nadu assembly’s swift move to revive and pass the bills reflects the determination of the ruling DMK to overcome challenges and secure assent for key legislative measures. The Supreme Court’s attention to this issue raises broader questions about the role of governors and the need for a framework to address delays in the legislative process.