Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 21 February 2024 9.49 AM IST

Two eye-opening judgments from SC


There are two different judgments from the Supreme Court that are meant to open the eyes of the governor and the government. In the first verdict, the high court mainly raised the question of why the governor held back the bills for two years without taking action. The governor does not give any reason for not deciding on the bills for so long. The bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud observed that the power of the governor should not interfere with the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly.

Constitutionally, there are three possibilities when a bill comes before the governor. One is to sign the bill and send it back. The second is to return the bill to the government without signing it to clear doubts. In that case, if the bill is re-adopted by the legislature with or without changes, the governor cannot reject it. The third option is to send the bill to the President for consideration. A day before the Supreme Court heard a petition regarding the governor's non-action on eight bills, the governor sent seven bills to the President and signed one. Senior advocate KK Venugopal, on behalf of the state government, demanded that guidelines be laid down for signing bills by the governor, even though the apparent relevance of the case has ended. The court has indicated that it can be considered if this is included in the petition.

As to the question why the bills were delayed without signing, one can understand that it is to avoid the situation that if they are sent back after passing it in the Assembly they will have to be signed. It obstructs legislative proceedings and creates administrative hurdles for the government. The court has also pointed out that a decision should be taken immediately on the finance bill. No one will benefit from the trend of delaying without a decision. Attorney General R. Venkataramani, who appeared for the governor and the central government, told the court that this issue could be resolved if the governor and the Chief Minister talked it over a cup of tea. The governor who holds the constitutional position should also think whether an avoidable litigation should have reached the Supreme Court. At the same time, it can be hoped that there will be a guideline from the Supreme Court on this issue, which will help to resolve such issues quickly in the future.

The Supreme Court's decision to remove Kannur University VC Gopinath Ravindran is a heavy blow to the government. The Supreme Court has also announced that it is canceling the guilty judgment of the High Court which upheld the re-appointment. It should be understood that the governor's interventions such as appointing a search committee to find a new VC were correct. It was not right that the Minister of Higher Education had sent two letters asking for re-appointment. Apart from this, the Chief Minister directly met the governor and raised the same demand. The Supreme Court also considered the press release issued by the Kerala Raj Bhavan pointing out these matters. No matter how deserving the person may be, the government's action of re-appointment of the VC in violation of UGC norms cannot be justified. Such court proceedings can be avoided if things are done strictly following the constitutional obligations and the criteria set by the respective committees for each appointment.

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