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Kerala’s Legal Pursuit: Seeking Supreme Court Remedy on Bill Assent Delays

As of now, the Kerala Government is facing a delay in the starting of argument in Supreme Court regarding the actions from the parts of the Government and the President regarding the bills passed by the Kerala Legislative Assembly. The state wants to argue over these actions and point out that the actions are the acts of infringement in constitutional principles. But the matter gets stalled and in the meanwhile, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan signs all the bills present including the ones pending.


Earlier, the Governor of the State had challenged the seven Bills referred by him to the President after inordinate delays and President Droupadi Murmu’s withholding of assent to three Bills. The State also sought guidance on guidelines for Governors’ handling of Bills passed by State Legislatures.

A major point has been the delay in the decisions by Governor Khan, citing the constitutional provision of acting on Bills “as soon as possible” upon presentation without elaborating on the time. The State again held the line in this respect through Minister for Law P. Rajeeve and expressed hope for a legal resolution in this regard by the apex court.

Governor Khan’s recent announcement of his signing of pending bills, including those on land assignment, abkari (liquor), conservation of paddy land and wetland, dairy cooperation, and cooperative societies, comes after a period of strained relations between the Governor and the State government. The Governor’s retention of certain Bills for up to two years and subsequent referral to the President had already escalated tension, which had prompted the State government to seek legal recourse.

Top legal officers of the State are working towards listing the case before the Supreme Court at the earliest possible time. It is said that after filling all necessary procedural formalities, the registry of the apex court is set to schedule the case.

That step taken by the Kerala government indicates a level of seriousness by the State government towards respect for constitutional provisions and protection of legislative autonomy. The outcome of this legal tussle may have broader implications for furthering relationships between State governments and constitutional authorities, hence setting up precedents for possible future interactions in matters of legislative assent.


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