A day after LS polls, Kerala Governor signs five pending Bills

During the hearing in November 2023, the Supreme Court emphasised that there was no reason for delaying eight bills for a two-year period.
Arif Mohammad Khan
Arif Mohammad Khan
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Just a day after the conclusion of the Lok Sabha polls in the state, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Saturday, April 27, signed five bills which have been passed by the Kerala Assembly. Some of the bills that he signed were reportedly stalled for nearly two years. 

Earlier, the Kerala government had approached the Supreme Court of India against the Governor to grant assent to bills cleared by the state legislature. In November 2023, SC issued notice on Kerala’s plea against the Governor's inaction to assent to bills. 

SC had sought the response of the Union government and Additional Chief Secretary to the Governor. The court had underscored that the power of the Governor cannot be used to pause the legislative process of lawmaking by the state legislature. The bench also said that it would consider laying down guidelines on when a Governor can send Bills to the President. 

Arif Mohammad Khan
SC pulls up Kerala Governor for delay in approving Bills

The bills he signed on Saturday are the Land Assignment Amendment Bill, the Kerala Co-operative Societies (Amendment), the Paddy Wetland Amendment Bill, the Dairy Cooperation Bill and the Abkari Law Amendment Bill.

The Governor said the delay happened because he received several complaints against the land assignment amendment bill and he needed to send it to the government to seek comments. A pro-BJP organisation, Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram (BVK), had alleged that the Bill was aimed at regularising the unauthorised construction and land defacement activities taking place in the ecologically sensitive Munnar in the Idukki district. The Governor also said he had received several other complaints against the bill. 

“I signed the five Bills a few days back, but you came to know about it today after the polling. We had received so many petitions against all these Bills. So, we had to send it back to the government and seek their comments. Later, other people also came with their petitions including those who were in favour. So it takes little time to take an overall view,” the Governor responded to the media.

According to reports, the Governor forwarded the complaints he received against the land assignment amendment bill to the state government four months ago. The Chief Secretary had sent a reply to the Raj Bhavan following this and explained the bill is not aimed solely at the Idukki district but addresses the issues affecting Kerala as a whole.

Earlier, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) had conducted several protests across the state highlighting the Governor’s inaction. They also conducted a hartal on the Idukki district during the Governor’s visit. The party workers also marched to the Raj Bhavan on January 9 since the Governor did not sign the Bill even after months. 

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