New Delhi : The Supreme Court of India has unambiguously declared that a Governor cannot send bills to the President for consideration after they have been readopted by the Legislative Assembly after being returned by the Governor for reconsideration. This landmark decision upholds the constitutional balance of power between the Governor and the Legislative Assembly. This historic ruling, made on [Date], limits the Governor’s discretionary powers and preserves the Legislative Assembly’s preeminence in areas pertaining to state law.
Context of the Case
The Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling and Betting Games Ordinance, 2021, and the Tamil Nadu Universities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021, two legislation enacted by the Assembly, caused a disagreement between the state’s Legislative Assembly and the Governor of Tamil Nadu. Citing doubts about the legislation’ constitutionality, the Governor, acting in accordance with Article 200 of the Constitution, returned them to the Assembly for further examination.
Following careful consideration, the Legislative Assembly readopted the legislation with few notable modifications. Nevertheless, the Governor decided to forward the proposals to the President for consideration in accordance with Article 200(2) of the Constitution rather than giving his consent. The Supreme Court intervened as a result of a judicial challenge to this decision.
Reasoning of the Supreme Court
The unanimous ruling of the Supreme Court made it clear that a Governor can only send bills to the President in situations when they are being presented for the first time. Following the reconsideration and readoption of the measures by the Legislative Assembly, the Governor’s only responsibility is to either give or withhold his assent. Under such circumstances, sending the bills to the President contradicts democratic governance norms and amounts to an attempt to circumvent the Legislative Assembly’s jurisdiction.
The Court went on to clarify that the purpose of the first proviso of Article 200, which gives the Governor the authority to return measures for reconsideration, is to give the Governor and the Legislative Assembly a means of communication and consensus-building. It does not, however, grant the Governor the power to stop or impede the legislative process forever.
Consequences of the Decision
The decision made by the Supreme Court has a significant impact on how the Governor and the Legislative Assembly divide authority. It limits the Governor’s power to that of a constitutional head and upholds the Legislative Assembly’s supremacy as the state’s last legislative body. This ruling supports the fundamentals of a representative democracy and preserves the ideas of legislative autonomy.
The decision also acts as a reminder that the Governor’s authority must be used carefully and in compliance with the constitution. The Legislative Assembly’s territory is delimited, and any effort to cross it will be subject to judicial review.
The Supreme Court’s historic decision in the Tamil Nadu Governor v. Legislative Assembly case is evidence of the Court’s unwavering dedication to preserving the Constitution and the democratic values it contains. The Court has asserted the Legislative Assembly’s supremacy in matters pertaining to state legislation and strengthened the delicate balance of power within the state’s governance structure by limiting the Governor’s discretionary powers to send bills to the President following readoption by the Legislative Assembly.