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Supreme Court directs Kerala Governor to meet CM, minister to discuss bills

Supreme Court directs Kerala Governor to meet CM, minister to discuss bills

The Supreme Court on Wednesday noted that Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has taken decisions on eight bills and asked him to meet Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan along with the minister concerned to discuss the bills, saying let us hope that some "political sagacity" takes over.

A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud took note of the submissions of Attorney General R Venkataramani, appearing for the office of the governor, that out of eight Bills, seven have been "reserved" for consideration by the President, while one has been assented by Khan.

The top court, meanwhile, permitted the state government to amend its plea to seek issuance of guidelines for the governors on grant or decline of assent to the bills passed by the assembly in a time-bound manner.

"We will record that the governor will discuss the matter with both the chief minister and the minister in charge and related to the Bill...," the bench said.

"Let us hope that some political sagacity takes over the state and we hope some sagacity prevails. Otherwise, we are here to lay down the law and do our duty under the Constitution," the CJI said.

At the outset, senior lawyer K K Venugopal, appearing for the state government, said time has come for this court to lay down some guidelines as to when the bills can be reserved for the presidential assent.

The governor cannot be allowed to sit over the Bills as it halts the governance, he added.

The bench, which was initially of the view that the plea of the state government can now be disposed of as the governor's office has taken decisions on the bills, later decided to keep it pending to consider laying down guidelines on the issue.

Earlier, the top court had asked the additional chief secretary of Kerala Governor to refer to its recent verdict in Punjab's case where it was held governors cannot "thwart the normal course of lawmaking".

The Kerala government has claimed that the governor is delaying the consideration of the eight bills by withholding his assent and this is "defeating the rights of the people".

It has claimed inaction on the governor's part in relation to the eight bills passed by the state legislature and said many of these proposed legislations involve immense public interest and provide for welfare measures that would stand deprived and denied to the people of the state to the extent of the delay.

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