Kerala govt moves SC against President withholding assent to its bills

The LDF government has made the Centre, the Secretary to the President, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan & his additional secretary parties to the case.

New Delhi: In an unusual move, the Kerala government has petitioned the Supreme Court against President Droupadi Murmu withholding assent to four bills passed by the state assembly.

It has requested that the President not granting 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.

The CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government has made the Union government, the Secretary to the President of India, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan and his additional secretary parties to the case.

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Besides several other reliefs, the state government has also sought direction to declare illegal Governor Khan reserving a total of seven bills, including these four, for the consideration of the President.

“The conduct of the Governor in keeping Bills pending for long and indefinite periods of time, 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 said.

Equally, it added, the aid and advise rendered by the Union of India to the President to withhold assent to the four bills which are wholly within the domain of the state, while disclosing no reason whatsoever, is also manifestly arbitrary and violates Article 14.

“Additionally, the actions impugned defeat the rights of the people of the State of Kerala under Article 21 of the Constitution, by denying them the benefits of welfare legislation enacted by the State Assembly,” it said.

Earlier also, the state government has moved the top court accusing the governor of not granting assent to several bills cleared by the assembly and the court had on November 20, last year issued a notice the office of the governor on the plea.

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