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Bill assent, a delay and the Governor’s options

  • Published
    4th May, 2022

There has been a confrontation between the elected government in Tamil Nadu and the State Governor regarding the Governor withholding assent to the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) Bill (linked to an all India premedical entrance test) passed by the State Assembly.


Understanding Governor’s Constitutional Position

  • The Governor is a nominee of the Central government, appointed by the
  • Article 154(1) of the Constitution vests in the Governor the executive power of the State, which he can exercise on aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.
  • In Shamsher Singh vs State of Punjab (1974), the Supreme Court had clearly affirmed that Governors exercise their formal constitutional powers only upon and in accordance with the advice of their Ministers save in a few well known exceptional situations.
  • In the Nabam Rebia case 2016, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the above position on the governors’ powers in our constitutional setup.

Choices available to Governor on receiving a bill

Article 200 of the Constitution provides for four alternative courses of action for a Governor:

  • Give his assent to the bill
  • Withhold his assent to the bill
  • Return the bill (if it is not a money bill) for reconsideration (or suggest amendments) of the state legislature. However, if the bill is passed again by the state legislature with or without amendments, the governor has to give his assent to the bill
  • Reserve the bill for the consideration of the president.
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