Daily News Analysis » Governor’s Role in State Legislation

Governor’s Role in State Legislation

The Supreme Court is hearing a plea against the Governor of Tamilnadu against withholding his assent for more than 10 bills.

Article 200 and 201 of the Indian Constitution:

  • Article 200: It details the Governor’s options after a state bill is presented: assent, withhold assent, reserve for the President’s consideration, or request the Legislative Assembly to reconsider the bill.
  • Article 201: Describes the President’s powers when a bill is reserved for their consideration, including assent, withholding assent, or returning it for reconsideration.

Governor’s Options with State Bills:

  • Assent to the bill.
  • Request the Assembly to reconsider certain provisions or the entire bill.
  • Reserve the bill for the President’s consideration, especially if it potentially conflicts with the Constitution, Directive Principles of State Policy, national interest, or involves compulsory property acquisition under Article 31A.
  • Withhold assent, though this is rare due to its potential unpopularity.

Supreme Court’s Observation:

  • The Supreme Court emphasized the constitutional intent behind the phrase “as soon as possible” in Article 200, urging Governors to avoid delays in returning bills for assent.

Legal Arguments Against Delaying Assent:

Constitutional Obligations of States:

  • The Governor’s inaction hampers the state government’s functioning per the Constitution, potentially invoking Article 355 for Presidential intervention.

Supreme Court Ruling on Governor’s Immunity:

  • Article 361 grants the Governor immunity from court proceedings, but the Supreme Court has ruled that this does not prevent judicial review of the Governor’s actions, especially on grounds of mala fide or arbitrariness.

International Practices:

  • United Kingdom: Royal assent is a formality, with the Crown not exercising veto power.
  • United States: The President can refuse assent, but a bill can still become law if repassed by two-thirds majority in both Houses.


Way Forward:

  • The Supreme Court should establish a reasonable timeframe for Governors to decide on Assembly-passed bills.

Why in News:

  • The Supreme Court is hearing plea against the Governor of Tamilnadu against withholding his assent for more than 10 bills.