Constitutional Punctuality: An Urgency

The Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly has passed a resolution urging Governors to act on bills enacted by the State Legislature within a certain time frame. The motion was approved in response to the Governor of Tamil Nadu, R.N. Ravi, withholding assent to up to 13 bills passed by the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. This emphasises the need of time-bound governance by emphasising the need for a time-bound constitutional delivery system for Governors, Speakers of Assemblies, and the President of India.

What is the purpose of the resolution?

  • The Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly passed a resolution encouraging the Union Government and President to advise the Governor to rule on laws passed by the state legislatures in a timely manner.
  • The resolution, introduced by Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, claimed that it was critical to defend legislative sovereignty and, eventually, parliamentary democracy.
  • The resolution intends to give Governors with a time frame for acting on bills enacted by the State Legislature and to ensure that they do not sit on bills indefinitely. The resolution also invites other states run by the opposition to pass similar resolutions in their legislatures.

What does it mean to be constitutionally punctual?

  • Duty performance in conformity with constitutional provisions: The timely execution of duties and responsibilities by various constitutional high offices in conformity with the provisions of the Indian Constitution is referred to as constitutional punctuality. It entails sticking to a fixed timetable in order to minimise unnecessary delays and maintain the effective operation of the constitutional scheme.
  • Growing concern about the misuse of discretionary powers by constitutional authorities such as governors: This concept has gained prominence in recent years as a result of growing concern about the misuse of discretionary powers by constitutional authorities such as governors, which can cause delays in the passage of important legislation and undermine the principles of parliamentary democracy.

In terms of the Governor’s role, there is a need for constitutional punctuality.

  • Maintaining legislative sovereignty: When the Governor of a state withholds assent to measures enacted by the state legislature indefinitely, the legislatures’ sovereignty is undermined. To protect the democratic values entrenched in the Constitution, it is critical to give a time window for the Governor to act on bills.
  • Providing timely justice: The Indian Constitution provides all citizens the right to prompt justice. Delays in the Governor’s assent to measures passed by the legislature cause delays in the implementation of new laws, which may have an impact on the timely delivery of justice.
  • Preventing abuse of authority: Governors wield considerable power, and the discretion they exercise in granting assent to measures should not be abused. The lack of a time limit for them to act on bills gives them the ability to abuse their powers, perhaps harming the people’s interests.
  • Providing a time-bound constitutional delivery mechanism advances the constitutional scheme. It guarantees that the democratic process runs smoothly and follows the principles of accountability and transparency.
  • Building public trust: When constitutional high offices, such as the Governor, President, and Speakers of Assemblies, carry out their tasks in a timely manner, it increases public faith in the country’s democratic institutions. It ensures that the will of the people, as expressed through their elected representatives, is carried out as soon as possible.

@the end

The Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly’s resolution is a start in the right path towards a time-bound constitutional delivery system. Governors, Speakers of Assemblies, and the President of India must adhere to stringent timetables in order to minimise excessive delays. Such an approach would promote the constitutional structure while also protecting it.

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