A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud said that “soul-searching is needed on both sides” after the opposition-governed Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Kerala moved the Supreme Court, accusing governors of abusing their constitutional position to withhold assent to bills passed by the assemblies.
Senior advocate A M Singhvi, representing the Punjab AAP government, claimed that seven key bills, including a fiscal bill, were kept pending by the governor. This was rebutted by solicitor general Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the governor, stating that it was actually the Punjab AAP government which was in the wrong as it kept the state assembly session perennially alive by not proroguing it.
The bench asked if this was the \”scheme of the Constitution.\” Advocate General Gurminder Singh clarified that four of the stalled bills had been passed by the assembly while the others were money bills which required the customary approval of the governor. Mehta told the SC that he would provide a factual position about pending bills on Friday and accused the Punjab government of keeping the assembly alive all through the year by merely adjourning and not proroguing it.
The CJI-led bench said it was within the power of the government to advise the governor to reconvene the session of the House and that soul-searching was required from both the governor and the CM to make the constitutional scheme of governance work.
For Kerala, advocate K K Venugopal said the governor kept three bills pending for two years and, when the media reported the Kerala government’s move to the SC, the governor said he would fight it out in court. The CJI said this matter would be listed on Friday along with a similar petition filed by the Tamil Nadu government against the governor.