Chennai, November 18
Days after Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi returned 10 Bills passed by the State Assembly, the House on Saturday met for a special sitting and re-adopted all of them, even as Chief Minister M K Stalin slammed the Governor for withholding the Bills due to his “whims and fancies.” Opposition AIADMK, which staged a walkout, asked why a special meeting to readopt the Bills was being held when the government has already taken the matter to the Supreme Court.
The BJP, which has 4 MLAs, also walked out.
The Bills, covering different departments including Law, Agriculture and Higher Education, were passed in the wake of Ravi returning them on November 13. The re-adopted bills were later sent to the Governor for his assent.
Earlier, Stalin moved a resolution to take up for reconsideration, the 10 bills. While 2 bills each were adopted by the House in 2020 and 2023, six others were passed last year.
Without giving any reasons, Ravi had returned the Bills, mentioning “I withhold Assent” to them, Stalin said.
Under the proviso to Article 200 of the Constitution, if they were passed again and presented to the Governor for assent, he “shall not withhold assent therefrom.”
The CM also made a stinging attack on Ravi, alleging the Governor was keen to block the government’s initiatives.
He alleged non-BJP ruled states were being targeted through Governors, apparently by the Centre.
Stalin said if a “power” that can stop the House from enacting a legislation emerges, it will severely hamper democracy and that this was his apprehension.
It was the duty of a Governor to give assent to Bills passed by a House that has an elected government.
“He can seek legal or administrative clarification from the government if required and the government has to give it,” he said, adding such clarifications have been given in the past.
“At no instances have such clarifications been not given. In such a situation, him (governor) not giving assent to the Bills passed by the Assembly due to his whims and fancies and returning them amounts to insulting the people of Tamil Nadu and this House,” Stalin said.
Those who could not stomach his government coming out with pioneering initiatives were trying to “scuttle the administration” and “want to do politics using the high post of Governor,” he alleged.
The government has taken up with the President and Prime Minister, the issues regarding the Governor, seeking solution, “and we had to knock on the doors of the Supreme Court only after these efforts bore no fruit,” Stalin added.
The Governor could not stomach the Dravidian ideology, equality, social justice, rational thinking and self-respect being engrained in the minds of people, he charged.
He said the Governor should aid in the state’s progress and use his proximity with the Centre to ensure funds for TN, get the pending GST dues or new railway schemes and be a bridge between the Centre and the state government.
“Instead of doing these, he only thinks about how to create hurdles for the state government’s schemes,” Stalin charged.
Though he was under rest for fever and throat pain, he was taking up the matter today in the interest of the people, Tamil Nadu and the Assembly, he said.
Leader of Opposition, Edappadi K Palaniswami demanded to know about the reason for a special meeting to re-adopt the Bills when the government had already moved the Apex Court on the matter.
He said the government should study about the possibilities of legal impediments as ‘withholding assent’ could be construed as pending matter. Law Minister S Regupathy said the Bills have been returned and were not pending.
Finance Minister Thangam Thenanrasu said the term ‘withheld’ is only a euphemism and it actually amounts to rejection and this has been made amply clear in a case related to NEET.
Speaker M Appavu said the House has powers to re-adopt the Bills and they were returned by the Raj Bhavan without any reason. This could be only construed as one done with ulterior motive.
Fisheries Minister Anitha R Radhakrishnan said it was strange the AIADMK staged a walk out over a Bill that seeks to rename the state fisheries varsity after late chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
He said an amendment Bill was passed in 2020 during the previous AIADMK regime to name the fisheries varsity after her. However, the then Governor Banwarilal Purohit did not clear it. The incumbent Governor Ravi has returned it.
Only when the Bill is passed and after it received the Governor’s assent, the name change could be formalised. The government has now brought the Bill to rename the varsity after the late leader. The main opposition has not understood the basic facts, he said.
Palaniswami further wanted to know if the government went to the top court only in respect of the 10 or 12 Bills or if it covered all those pending with Raj Bhavan.
Regupathy said besides 12 Bills, five others passed recently were pending with Raj Bhavan. So was a file on premature release of prisoners. The government’s case in the top court covers such aspects to nudge the Governor to give assent on time.
On the appointment of chancellors—replacing Governor with chief minister—Palaniswami said way back in 1994 itself the then AIADMK regime had tried to make way for it. However, in 1996 the DMK assumed power and it abandoned that move.
On the Fisheries varsity bill, Palaniswami said his party is staging a walkout opposing it and condemned it.
Speaker Appavu said the leader of opposition mentioned his party’s support to the re-adoption of bills but chose to walkout on the matter.
Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan said the AIADMK walked out by clinging on to a non-issue as there was no name change to the varsity.
Opposition to the Governor may mean opposing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP and “the real reason has emerged now,” he said, citing a proverb.
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