Tamil Nadu Governor Returns 10 Bills, Week After Court Expressed Concerns

RN Ravi was appointed Governor of Tamil Nadu in September 2021 (File).


Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi on Thursday returned ten pending bills – two of which were passed by the earlier AIADMK government – to the Assembly, sources in the state law department told Newsbust India.

Mr Ravi’s action comes days after the Supreme Court came down hard on him and his Punjab counterpart, as it heard complaints by the two state governments about delays in clearing bills.

The court called the complaints “a matter of serious concern”.

Hours after the bills were returned, Speaker M Appavu called for a special session (on Saturday) in which it is expected that the ruling DMK will send them straight back, in an attempt to force Mr Ravi’s hands as it will become mandatory for the Governor to sign off on them so they become laws.

The Tamil Nadu government has accused the BJP-appointed Governor of deliberately delaying the bills’ clearance and scuttling the state’s development by “undermining the elected administration”.

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In its approach to the court, the ruling DMK said the Governor’s actions were “undermining the will of the people” by deliberately delaying bills sent for clearance and asked for a specific timeframe.

Among the pending bills is one that clips the Governor’s authority to appoint Vice Chancellors of state-run universities, and another seeking prosecution of ex-ministers from the AIADIMK.

Mr Ravi had earlier also returned the NEET Exemption Bill, after much delay, and forwarded it to the President of India only after the Assembly passed the bill again. He adopted a similar stance over a bill seeking a ban on online gaming. “Withholding bills is a courteous way of saying no…” he said.

Mr Ravi has also stoked controversy in other spaces, including by promoting Sanatan Dharm – the subject of a row after Tamil Nadu minister Udhayanidhi Stalin’s comments on caste discrimination.

READ | “Won’t Change My Stand”: MK Stalin’s Son On Row Over ‘Sanatana’ Remark

He had also avoided reading names of activists BR Ambedkar and EV Periyar, and former Tamil Nadu Chief Ministers CN Annadurai, K Kamaraj and K Karunanidhi, from a speech in the Assembly.

The speech was given to him by the state government. Mr Stalin’s government later passed a resolution to not formally record Mr Ravi’s version of the speech. Earlier, the Governor also touched a raw nerve when he suggested the state name be changed to Thamizhagam.

Tamil Nadu isn’t the only state to have moved the Supreme Court against their respective governors.

The others include Kerala and Punjab. With reference to the situation in the latter state, the court told Governor Banwarilal Purohit he is “playing with fire”. This was after senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi said Mr Purohit had delayed seven bills, including one fiscal management and education.

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