Pending bills with Telangana Governor: SC seeks Centre's response, to hear again next week

The Supreme Court sought the response of the Union Government over the bills pending with the Telangana Governor while refraining from issuing a notice to the ‘constitutional functionary’

Tamilisai Soundararajan

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday sought the response of the Union Government over the crucial bills pending with the Telangana Governor while refraining from issuing a notice to the ‘constitutional functionary’. The apex court was hearing a petition filed by the Telangana Government seeking directions to Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan to clear 10 bills pending with her since September 2022 even after they were passed by the State Legislative Assembly. The Supreme Court later posted the matter to next week (March 27) for further hearing.

A Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, Justice P S Narasimha and Justice J B Pardiwala did not issue a formal notice to the Governor’s office considering the fact that the Governor is a constitutional functionary. Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta consented to get instructions from the Union Government on this matter.

Interesting discussion took place between the CJI, senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing the Telangana Government, and SGI Tushar Mehta, arguing on behalf of the Union Government, on the matter.

According to reports, CJI D Y Chandrachud shot back on the question of issuing notice, saying, “Who do we issue the notice to? Normally, we don’t issue the notice to the Governor.” To this, Dushyant Dave replied, “That’s why, we say, issue a notice to the secretary of the Governor.”

The CJI said, “We will issue the notice to the Union of India (Centre).” Intervening at this stage, SGI Tushar Mehta said, “It’s not necessary. I will serve a copy on Mr Makkar. It’s a constitutional functionary. Your lordships may not issue notice.”

Dushyant Dave, at this juncture, sought to remind the Supreme Court bench of an earlier precedent. “In the Punjab case, your lordships have considered this (option) extensively,” he said.

The Telangana Government, in its petition, named the secretary to the Governor as the first respondent. Giving reasons for its petition, the Telangana Government stated that it was constrained to move the petition in the Supreme Court exercising its extraordinary jurisdiction as per Article 32 of the Indian Constitution. The move became an imperative due to “an unusual constitutional impasse created as a result of the Governor’s refusal to act on several bills passed by the State Legislature,” it said.

The bills pending for the Governor’s assent since September 2022 include the Telangana Universities Common Recruitment Board Bill, 2022; the Azamabad Industrial Area (Termination and Regulation of Leases) (Amendment) Bill, 2022; Telangana Municipal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2022; University of Forestry Telangana Bill, 2022; Telangana Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and Telangana Motor Vehicles Taxation (Amendment) Bill, 2022.

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