Controversy of sitting over bills: Making decisions about bills that have been passed in assemblies has been a source of contention for many state governments and their corresponding governors.
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan claimed on Friday that the state government had been “crossing the line” on multiple occasions and reiterated that he was operating in compliance with the Constitution amid the controversy surrounding Raj Bhavans of various states “sitting over” bills. He inquired further as to whether he had ever brought about a crisis within the state.
At the time of his comments, the Keralan government had petitioned the Supreme Court, bringing up the matter of the Governor’s refusal to sign certain bills and consequent indefinite delay.
Show me one instance where I have crossed over the line. And there is a long list of times when my government has crossed the line. So who is the cause of the current crisis? Khan inquired, alleging that the state has been failing to pay pensions and salaries for some time. He also mentioned Keraleeyam, a government-sponsored annual event, and stated that the state was ‘having big celebrations’. We’re having a big party. We are having swimming pools built for a million rupees, he added.
On November 8, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan stated that Khan was bound by the Constitution. The Governor had previously accused the state government of abusing the legislature for purposes other than those intended.
Khan stated that he follows the Constitution and its spirit in carrying out his duties. He claimed that money bills could not be passed in the state assembly without the Governor’s prior approval.
University bills are money bills and money bills cannot be passed by the Assembly without prior approval by the Governor, the governor said.
Meanwhile, Raj Bhavans in several states have been at odds with elected governments. Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, and Kerala have all petitioned the Supreme Court for directives to their respective governors in recent months.
The Supreme Court expressed dissatisfaction with the conduct of both the Raj Bhavan and the state government in directing the Punjab governor to decide on the pending bills. “Any attempt to cast doubt on the legislature’s session would be fraught with perils to democracy,” said the bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud.