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The Importance Of Constitutional Punctuality

  • Published
    2nd May, 2023


Constitutional high offices must evolve guidelines to discharge their duties in a time-bound manner, safeguarding the will of the people

The Background:

  • The Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly passed a resolution seeking to provide for a time frame for Governors to act on Bills passed by the State Legislature as the Governor of Tamil Nadu withheld assent to as many as 13 Bills passed by the TN Assembly.
  • The Supreme Court of India, while disposing of a case filed by the State of Telangana against its Governor, remarked that Governors should not sit over Bills indefinitely.
  • All constitutional high offices including those of the President of India and Speakers of Assemblies must suo motu evolve guidelines to discharge duties in a time-bound manner.

Evolving constitutional scheme

  • Article 200 of the Constitution limits the options before the Governor to give assent to the Bill sent by the legislature, or withhold assent, or reserve a Bill for the consideration of the President.
  • The original draft Article 175 moved for discussion in 1949 read as: “Provided that where there is only one House of the Legislature and the Bill has been passed by that House, the Governor may, in his discretion, return the Bill together with a message requesting that the House will reconsider the Bill.
  • In 1949, B.R. Ambedkar said there “can be no room for a Governor acting on discretion” and recommended removing the phrase “the Governor, in his discretion”. 
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