New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday expressed its unhappiness over the ongoing impasse between the Punjab Government and the Governor over the approval of the bills passed by the Assembly. The court said that the situation is a matter of serious concern and that the constitutional norms and conventions need to be respected and followed.
A bench comprising Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice J.B. Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Mishra admonished both the Punjab Government and the Governor for their actions and inactions that have created a deadlock in the state. The court said that the Governor was playing with fire by not giving his assent to the bills passed by the Assembly and by declaring the Assembly session unconstitutional. The court also asked the Punjab Government why it deferred the meeting of the budget session of the Assembly and why it did not prorogue the session.
The bench said that it will pass a short order to lay down the law on the issue of the Governor’s power to assent to bills. The court reminded the Governor that he is not an elected representative of the people and that he has to act according to the Constitution and the advice of the Council of Ministers. The court also directed the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to submit the details of the action taken by Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit on the bills passed by the Assembly.
The Punjab Government had filed a petition in the top court alleging delay by the Governor in giving his assent to the bills passed by the Assembly. The petition said that such unconstitutional inaction has paralyzed the entire administration and has affected the welfare of the people. The petition also said that the Governor cannot stall the bills indefinitely as he has limited powers under Article 200 of the Constitution, which deals with the power of the Governor to assent to or withhold a bill or to reserve the bill for the consideration of the President. The petition said that the Governor has been in conflict with the Aam Aadmi Party government led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann for a long time.