CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi’s decision to refuse assent to some bills in the state has received full support from constitutional experts and academics.
“The highest duty of the Governor is to uphold the Constitution. Although he has limited discretion and usually has to follow the advice of the Council of Ministers, the Constitution allows him to acquiesce to, or even take into account, the power of the Governor. That of the President of India. In direct conflict with the judgments of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court The Bill, which ignores the scheme of the Constitution and is potentially unconstitutional, is a perfect example of a rare and exceptional case of the Governor exercising his powers under Article 200,” said Professor (Dr.) Ranbir Singh, National Law University, Delhi and NALSAR. Vice Chancellor of the University of Law.
According to the experts, there have been several cases in the past where the Governor’s intervention and bold stance have led to the halting of various wrong laws.
In 2017, the then governor of Jharkhand, Droupadi Murmu, returned the controversial amendments to the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act and the Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act to the government, finding it anti-people. The then BJP state government respected his sentiments by not re-introducing the bill.
In July 2022, when he was elected President of India, Droupadi Murmu was described by the media as “the governor who refused to crack under pressure”.
In 2016, Karnataka was under serious threat of reducing parks, playgrounds and green cover in its urban areas due to hastily passed legislation. The then Governor of Karnataka, Vajubhai Vala, rightly refused to give his assent to the bill that sought to reduce the green space reserved for urban areas. Governor Vala said the bill “affects the basic fundamental rights of citizens.”
Bills that the Tamil Nadu governor has not given his assent to include the TN Universities Bill, which curtails the governor’s role in the appointment of vice-chancellors in state universities, and the Tamil Nadu Online Gambling Prohibition and Regulation of Online Gambling Bill, 2022.
The controversial gaming bill has been silent on how to control the menace of foreign betting and gaming operators, while seeking to ban legitimate gaming platforms in India. It also comes in the backdrop of the Madras High Court’s August 2022 judgment, which struck down an amendment to the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act that had banned online rummy and poker games offered by home-based companies.
Additionally, a Rotary investigation found wildly exaggerated reports of online rummy suicides in TN. Research by the Chennai-based Rotary Rainbow Project in collaboration with families of suicide victims found that cases of deaths due to old-age problems by loan and debt traps have been falsely attributed to online rummy.
Another study by renowned researcher Sandip H. Shah, professor of psychiatry and dean of the Government Medical College, Godhra, said there is insufficient data in the public domain to conclude that online gaming has caused a suicide in Tamil Nadu.