Kerala government petitions Supreme Court over indefinitely stalled bills

The state government counsel argues that this is a violation of constitutional principles and is an arbitrary move. The state government also contended that Governor Arif Mohammed Khan is accused of keeping the bills pending for an indefinite period and later referring them to the president.

| Updated: 23 March, 2024 6:14 pm IST
Kerla Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and President Draupadi Murmu

NEW DELHI: In an unusual and unprecedented move, the Kerala government has approached the Supreme Court against President Draupadi Murmu and Governor Arif Mohammed Khan for delaying several bills passed by the Kerala assembly. The petition filed by the state before the Supreme Court names the secretary to the president, the Kerala governor, and the additional chief secretary to the governor as respondents.

The state government, in its contention to the apex court, argues that President Murmu withheld assent for four bills without explaining the precise reason. The state government counsel argues that this is a violation of constitutional principles and is an arbitrary move. The state government also contended that Governor Arif Mohammed Khan is accused of keeping the bills pending for an indefinite period and later referring them to the president. The state government argued that the governor’s actions undermined the balance between the executive, legislature, and the judiciary.

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“The Left government in Kerala has approached the Supreme Court against the president without understanding the ground situation. This is the first time in history that such a situation persisted where a government is approaching the apex court against the president to cover up its failures before the people. The case will not stand in the court of law as the Supreme Court cannot intervene in this matter,” said Advocate Jayasooryan, a senior lawyer from the Kerala High Court.

It has requested that the President not grant assent to the bills – University Laws (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2021; the Kerala Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2022; the University Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2022; and the University Laws (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill, 2022 – without stating any reason be declared unconstitutional.

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“The conduct of the Governor in keeping Bills pending for long and indefinite periods, and thereafter reserving the Bills for the consideration of the President without any reasons relatable to the Constitution is manifestly arbitrary and violates Article 14 (equality before law) of the Constitution,” the plea mentioned.

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