Raj Bhavan is nearer than Delhi: Telangana Governor hits out at chief secretary following SC petition

The Telangana government filed a special leave petition in the top court seeking direction to the Governor to give assent to 10 pending bills.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Mar 03, 2023 | 5:43 PMUpdatedMar 03, 2023 | 5:43 PM

Telangana pending bills

Apparently annoyed with Chief Secretary A Santhi Kumari moving the Supreme Court for clearance of 10 bills pending with her, Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on Friday, 3 March, advised her to realise that the Raj Bhavan — the official residence of the Governor — was closer to her than the Supreme Court in Delhi.

The Governor also did not hide her displeasure over Santhi Kumari not paying her a visit after assuming office as the chief secretary. She said that she did not even visit her as a matter of courtesy, leave alone as a part of the protocol.

Airing her grievances 

In a tweet, the Governor said, “Telangana CS, Raj Bhavan is nearer than Delhi. Assuming office as CS you didn’t find time to visit Rah Bhavan officially. No protocol! No courtesy even for courtesy call. Friendly official visits & interactions would have been more helpful which you don’t even intend.[sic]”

The Governor followed it up with another tweet, “Again I remind you Raj Bhavan is nearer than Delhi.”

The government’s petition

The Telangana government, represented by Santhi Kumari, filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court on Thursday, seeking a direction to the Governor to give assent to the 10 bills pending with her.

Of the 10 bills, seven were pending since 14 September last year and the remaining three, since 13 February this year.

The chief secretary, in the petition, argued that delay in giving assent to the bills was affecting the administration and raised the question of whether a Governor could hold the bills passed by the two Houses of Legislature indefinitely.

The chief secretary named the Governor’s secretary as the respondent and apprised the apex court that the government was constrained to approach it in view of the need for the Governor to clear the bills without any further delay.

It urged the Supreme Court to utilise its extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution and issue the necessary direction to the Governor.

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Articles of the Constitution

The state government contended that under Article 200, the Governor would have to either approve bills passed by the Legislature or refer them to the President. If it is a finance bill, the Governor could return it to the Legislature for reconsideration.

The government insisted that under Article 163, the Governor would have to abide by the decisions of the state Cabinet.

The government recalled the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Shamsher Singh vs Punjab state government case, upholding the Article 163 and stating that the Governor cannot act independently and run a parallel government.

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The 10 pending bills

The 10 bills that are pending with the Telangana Governor are:

  • The University of Forestry Bill
  • Azamabad Industrial Area (Termination and regulation of leases) (Amendment) Bill
  • Municipal Laws (Amendment) Bill
  • Public Employment (Regulation of Age of Superannuation) (Amendment) Bill
  • Motor Vehicles Taxation (Amendment) Bill
  • Private Universities (Establishment and Regulation) Amendments Bill
  • Telangana Universities Common Recruitment Board Bill
  • Telangana Municipalities (Amendment) Bill
  • Telangana Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Bill
  • Prof Jayashankar Telangana State Agriculture University (Amendment) Bill