HC rejects PIL against Kerala guv’s decision to withhold assent to bills

Published on Dec 01, 2022 12:08 AM IST

A division bench of chief justice M Manikumar and justice Shaji P Chaly observed that the court cannot fix a timeline for the governor to sign the bills, and that it cannot interfere with the discretion of the governor.

Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)
Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a lawyer questioning the action of Governor Arif Mohammad Khan to withhold some bills passed by the legislative assembly.

A division bench of chief justice M Manikumar and justice Shaji P Chaly observed that the court cannot fix a timeline for the governor to sign the bills, and that it cannot interfere with the discretion of the governor.

In the PIL, petitioner PV Jeevesh said six bills passed by the assembly were pending with the governor. He also contended that the President or the governor do not have unbridled and unfettered discretion to keep the bills passed by legislative bodies.

Jeevesh also wanted the court to hold the action of the governor, in withholding the bills without exercising discretionary powers under Article 200, as arbitrary and antithetical to democratic values and principles of democratic constitutionalism. He also quoted extensively from the report of Sarkaria Commission and Punchhi Commission in this regard. But the court rejected his contentions by saying that it cannot interfere with the discretion of the governor and set a time frame for him.

On Tuesday, the Kerala high court dismissed the state government’s petition questioning the governor’s appointment of Ciza Thomas as the acting vice-chancellor of the APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University (KTU) and allowed her to continue with her new duties.

Strained ties between Governor Khan and the Pinarayi Vijayan government spiralled last month after the former asked 11 vice-chancellors to resign citing the Supreme Court verdict that quashed the appointment of KTU V-C MS Rajashree.

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