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Rajasthan HC directs State Government to look into the absence of State Counsel representation in legal proceedings

CASE TITLE – Rekha Kumari v. State Of Rajasthan.

CASE NUMBER – S.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 3015/2019

DATED ON – 15.03.2024

QUORUM – Hon’ble Justice Ganesh Ram Meena

 

FACTS OF THE CASE

Mr. Rahul Gupta, Adv. and Mr. Shubhendu Pilania, Adv., on behalf of Mr. Basant Singh Chhaba, AAG, representing all respondents, request three weeks to file a reply. On January 22, 2020, this Court instructed the petitioner’s attorney to provide a copy of the petition to Mr. C.L. Saini, AAG’s office and to file the case after indicating Mr. Saini’s name in the cause-list. Mr. C.L. Saini, AAG, represented the respondents on February 3, 2020, and requested two weeks to provide a response. On September 15, 2023, Mr. C.L. Saini, AAG, representing the respondents, requested an extension of time to submit their reply, and this request was granted. Once more, now, more than four years later, the respondent State’s attorneys ask for extra time to file a response. The issues concern the petitioners’ claim to be appointed to the Grade III (Special Education) Teacher post. The unemployed people who have come before this court as petitioners are doing so in order to pursue justice. Although they were served four years ago, the respondent-State, which is regarded as a welfare state, is pleading for more time to submit a response.

 

ISSUE

Whether the State can be given time to file a reply.

 

COURT ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT

The Hon’ble High Court of Rajasthan noticed that the respondent authority’s sluggish attitude demonstrates that they are not operating as a welfare state, and this type of behaviour might have disastrous effects on the entire legal system, which is why poor unemployed litigants are turning to the courts in the first place. The court has also evidently noticed that the respondent-State is not being adequately represented by the Officer or its solicitors for the past two months. It has been brought to the attention of the Rajasthani government, the chief secretary, and the principal secretary of the law and legal affairs department several times, but as of yet, no adequate plan has been established for the state’s representation. The absence of State counsel is the reason for the adjournment of several cases.  A few days ago, this Court also learned of a lawsuit that the State had brought, in which no one had represented the State on two or three occasions. In the aforementioned case, this Court believes that the Governor of Rajasthan, His Excellency, should be informed of the issue so that the State Government can investigate and the State’s interests can be protected throughout the legal process and any rulings rendered by the Court. The court ordered that a copy of this order must be sent by the Registrar (Judicial) to the Chief Secretary of the State of Rajasthan, His Excellency the Governor of Rajasthan, and the Principal Secretary of the Law and Legal Affairs Department of the Government of Rajasthan. For the sake of fairness, the Hon’ble High Court gave the respondents  two weeks as a last chance to file a reply, subject to the respondent state paying each petitioner’s costs of Rs. 10,000 in the event that the reply is not submitted by the next listing date.

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Judgement Reviewed by – Gnaneswarran Beemarao

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“Examining Governors’ Functions: Addressing the Trend of State Governors Facing Lawsuits for Withholding Assent on Bills”

Abstract

The changing role of state governors in the legislative process, with an emphasis on the recent pattern of legal action taken against governors who refuse to sign legislation. The study looks at the constitutional authority and bounds of governors’ assent, the political and legal ramifications of not giving assent, and the wider effects on the legislative process and governance by examining case studies and legal precedents. The results point to the need for a more precise definition of the governors’ discretionary powers and offer reform ideas to lessen the tension between legislative and executive authority.

Understanding the Role of Governors

The governor is the pivotal figure in the state constitution, functioning as a vital link between the federal government and state government. In addition to having a ceremonial role, they have considerable discretionary authority, particularly when it comes to obtaining legislative approval. Governors have historically had to strike a careful balance between following the law and negotiating political issues. The governor’s decision to approve or reject a bill is not only a formality; it also reflects on his or her judgment and legal knowledge. Although their powers are broadly outlined in the constitution, how these powers are interpreted and used has changed throughout time. Governors have the power to change the direction of state governance, impact political agendas, and establish precedents for the law. Therefore, what they’re doing is often examined and occasionally challenged in courtrooms. The problematic nature of this power is highlighted by the recent increase of lawsuits filed against governors for refusing to give their approval. It calls into question the bounds of governor discretion as well as the systems of checks and balances required to keep it from being abused. Because politics and the law are dynamic and ever-changing, the job of governors is also dynamic, requiring a comprehensive understanding of constitutional principles and practical governance. An overview of the governors’ constitutional involvement in the legislative process. Summary of the governors’ duties and authority with regard to bill assent. The historical background and development of the roles of governors. The definition and legal foundation of the governor’s office. Historical models for the legislative authority of governors. A comparison of the authority held by governors in various states. An outline of procedure for the bill assent process. The extent and boundaries of the governors’ discretionary authority. The political factors that impact governors’ choices about legislative assent.

Emerging Trends: Governors Facing Litigation over Assent Refusals

Due to a wave of lawsuits involving state governors’ reluctance to give their assent to measures, the function of these officials in modern politics has come under close examination. This new trend represents a change in the dynamics of state governance, with the governor’s formerly primarily ceremonial role now at the center of legal discussions. Legislation’s refusal to receive assent is a serious matter since it frequently signals underlying political conflicts or constitutional issues. The number of lawsuits contesting the governors’ decisions and asking for court intervention has increased in tandem with the rise in these kinds of refusals. These court cases highlights the examination of recent lawsuits alleging that governors failed to give their consent. Investigation into the causes of these litigation. A discussion of how these legal challenges affect governance. Governors Experiencing Legal Action for Refusing Assent . A statistical summary of cases brought against governors for refusing assent. Case studies: Notable examples of withheld consent. The reasons for the legal challenges to the choices made by governors. The function of political opposition in bringing legal action. How the public views governors’ refusals to assent and how the media portrays them. How the lawsuit will affect the governors’ ability to make decisions in the future.

Judicial Approach

The question of whether the governor can use his or her discretion to refuse to sign certain measures is now moot. In multiple cases, the Supreme Court attempted to address this matter. Nevertheless, no authoritative statement has been made in this regard. In Samsher Singh v. State of Punjab, the Supreme Court ruled that while uncontrolled discretion in areas outside the Governor’s mandate is a risk to the functioning of democratically elected State Governments, federalism is a fundamental component of the Constitution. The Supreme Court has emphasized the value of institutions and their part in promoting democratic processes in a number of decisions. The fundamental elements of the Constitution, federalism and democracy, are inextricably linked. Any weakening of one puts the other at danger. The synchronization of the cornerstones of federalism and democracy serve as the means by which our citizens’ hopes and basic liberties might be realized. The Supreme Court held in Purushothaman Nambudiri v. State of Kerala (1962) that the absence of a deadline under Article 200 for the Governor to grant assent suggests that the Constitution’s framers did not intend for bills pending assent to expire upon the House’s dissolution. Similarly, the Court stressed that the Governor’s authority is restricted to determining whether a Bill should be held for the President’s consideration in Nabam Rebia and Bamang Felix v. Dy. Speaker (2016). It further made it clear that Article 163(2) must be read in This raises the moot question of whether the governor can use its discretion. to refuse to sign some bills. In a number of cases, the Supreme Court attempted to provide an answer. There isn’t, however, a legally binding statement in this respect. In the case of Samsher Singh v. State of Punjab, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution’s fundamental structure includes federalism and that granting unrestricted discretion in areas outside the purview of the governor’s mandate runs the risk of impairing the operation of state governments that are democratically elected. The Supreme Court has emphasized the value of institutions and their function in promoting democratic processes via a number of decisions. The fundamental elements of the Constitution, federalism and democracy, are inextricably linked. Any weakening of one puts the other at danger. The foundation for achieving the fundamental freedoms and rights is the balancing of democracy and federalism. The goals of our people. The Supreme Court held in Purushothaman Nambudiri v. State of Kerala (1962) that the absence of a deadline under Article 200 for the Governor to grant assent suggests that the Constitution’s framers did not intend for bills pending assent to expire upon the House’s dissolution. Similarly, the Court stressed that the Governor’s authority is restricted to determining whether a Bill should be held for the President’s consideration in Nabam Rebia and Bamang Felix v. Dy. Speaker (2016). It also made it clear that Article 163(2) must be read in connection with Article 163(1), meaning that the only things that the Constitution expressly permits the Governor to act autonomously on are those that are not subject to legal dispute.

Conclusion

Significant conclusions drawn from the examination of the responsibilities played by governors and the trend of litigation. Suggestions for elucidating the extent of the governors’ prerogatives. Concluding remarks regarding the governance and ties between the executive and legislature. The intricate problems pertaining to governors’ legislative responsibilities and the legal obstacles they encounter. It seeks to provide a thorough study of the subject and make recommendations for policy and governance changes. Synthesis of study results on the responsibilities and legal difficulties faced by governors. Legislative changes to define the governors’ assent authority are proposed. The possibility of legislative and executive cooperation to lessen conflict. Future directions for the study of democratic government and executive authority. Taking Up the Pattern of State Governors Being Sued for Not Giving Their Consent to Bills” clarifies a crucial part of the interaction between state governors and the legislative process. The growing number of governors who are being sued for refusing to sign legislation is an indication of how politics are changing and how closely executive acts are scrutinized. The degree of governors’ discretionary authority and the constitutional powers granted to them have become hot topics of discussion as a result of this situation. The study discussed in this paper emphasizes how complicated the governors’ job is, as it juggles political pressure and constitutional obligations. The instances analyzed show that although governors are granted the authority to refuse consent, this authority is not unqualified and is subject to legal restrictions and moral limitations. A increasing unhappiness with apparent overreach or misuse of gubernatorial discretion is indicated by the increase in lawsuits, which has prompted requests for more precise limits and changes. The way the courts have handled these issues has been crucial in defining the limits of the executive branch. In interpreting the constitution and making sure that governors stay within the bounds of their power, courts have been essential. In addition to providing clarification on the law, the judiciary’s rulings have acted as a check on any abuses of authority. In the future, it will be crucial to strike a balance between governors’ authority and the accountability systems that control their behavior. The article argues that the constitutional clauses pertaining to governors’ assent should be reviewed in order to guarantee that they comply with the standards of good governance and modern democratic ideals. Moreover, it emphasizes the necessity of continuing discussion and investigation to manage the difficulties brought about by this development and to promote a more cordial executive-legislative relationship. In conclusion, the increasing number of lawsuits filed against governors for refusing to sign legislation serves as a wake-up call for legislators, judges, and academics to work together to improve the governance paradigm. Such an undertaking would strengthen the fundamentals of democracy while also improving the efficiency of state administrations.

References

1.https://forumias.com/blog/upsc-current-affairs-news/the-issue-of-governors-withholding-assent-to-bills-explained-pointwise/

2. Vajiramandravi.com

3.https://www.drishtiias.com/daily-updates/daily-news-analysis/governor-s-power-over-state-bills

4.https://byjus.com/free-ias-prep/article-200-of-the-indian-constitution-powers-of-governor-to-decide-on-bills/

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