Under active consideration: Punjab Governor to CM seeking his assent to pending bills

Under active consideration: Punjab Governor to CM seeking his assent to pending bills

Chandigarh, Nov 24 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann Friday requested the governor to give assent to the bills passed by the Assembly to which Banwarilal Purohit replied that these were under his 'active consideration' and that appropriate decision will be taken expeditiously.

The development came days after the Supreme Court directed Governor Purohit to decide on the Bills passed by the legislative assembly during its 'constitutionally valid' session held on June 19 and 20, saying the governor's power cannot be used to 'thwart the normal course of lawmaking'.

Mann in his letter to the governor said, 'It is submitted that the five Bills were passed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha which are pending at your end for accord of assent. Four of these Bills were passed in the sittings of the budget session held on June 19 and 20, 2023.' Purohit wrote back stating these bills were under his active consideration and also mentioned that he had on November 15 prorogued the budget session after the Punjab Assembly secretariat wrote to him requesting it.

'I am happy to note that the practice of adjourning the assembly sine die and recalling it without proroguing came to an end finally. Though it came through the indulgence by the Hon'ble Supreme Court, I am glad that healthy democratic practices are put on track.

'In fact, I have been repeatedly advising you to follow the same procedure which was agreed upon by you in the Supreme Court,' the Governor wrote back to Mann.

Mann, while requesting the Governor to give his assent to the pending bills, wrote, 'In your earlier communications, you had stated that the validity of the special sittings of the Vidhan Sabha, convened by the Speaker in June 2023 was in doubt, which was an impediment for clearing the bills.' 'The issue regarding the sitting of Punjab Vidhan Sabha on June 19 and 20 and October 20, 2023, has been held to be valid by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in its orders pronounced in court on November 10,' the chief minister wrote in the letter.

Mann said the five bills, which were 'validly' passed by the Assembly and pending the governor's approval, are -- The Sikh Gurudwara (Amendment) Bill, 2023; The Punjab Police (Amendment) Bill, 2023, the Punjab  Affiliated Colleges (Security of Service) (Amendment) Bill 2023, the Punjab Universities Laws (Amendment) Bill 2023; and the Punjab State Vigilance Commission (Repeal) Bill, 2022.

'I would request that in keeping with the constitutional obligation and the spirit of democracy as elucidated in the orders stated November 10, 2023, of the Hon'ble Supreme Court, these bills be cleared forthwith,' he wrote to Purohit.

Responding to Mann's letter, the Punjab Governor said, 'The five bills mentioned in your letter are under my active consideration and appropriate decision according to the law will be taken expeditiously in keeping with the judgement of Hon'ble Supreme Court dated November 10 which was uploaded on the website yesterday'.

Notably, a two-day session of the Punjab assembly will start on November 28.

Purohit had on November 15 prorogued the budget session after the Punjab Vidhan Sabha secretariat wrote to him requesting it.

Notably, the extension of the Budget session summoned by the AAP government has been a sore point between the Bhagwant Mann dispensation and the Raj Bhavan. The Budget session, which was convened in March, was adjourned sine die -- adjournment for an indefinite period -- and not prorogued, which terminates the session of the House.

The top court in its November 10 judgement decided on the plea of the AAP government in Punjab which alleged the governor was not granting his assent to the pending bills which were passed by the assembly.

The Punjab government had also sought a judicial declaration that the assembly session held on June 19 and 20 was 'legal and that the business transacted by the House is valid'.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, Justice J B Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra, in the 27-page judgement, held the assembly sessions were valid and this aspect was not open to the governor after the Speaker took the decision.

On November 10, the top court had said the governor was 'playing with fire' as it held that being the titular head of the state he cannot cast doubt on the validity of an assembly session or withhold his decision indefinitely on bills passed by the House. PTI SUN VSD NSD NSD

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