Governor cannot sit on bills passed by State Legislature

Context- The Supreme Court has observed that a Governor cannot sit on key Bills passed by a
State Legislature, on the writ petition filed by the Punjab Government.
What is the Issue?

  • The Punjab government had filed a writ petition in the Supreme court and submitted
    that Governor has held back Key bills passed in a special sitting of the Budget Session of
    the Vidhan Sabha.
  • The governor refused to pass the bills on the ground that the special Assembly sitting in
    which the Bills were passed in June was “patently illegal”. He held that the speaker of
    the Punjab assembly had adjourned the Budget session of the House sine die without
    proroguing it.
  • (Adjourning sine die is an “interruption of one and the same session” while prorogation
    is a termination of the session).
    What are the Key observations given by the Supreme court?
  • In a parliamentary form of democracy- real power vests with the elected representatives
    of the people.
  • The court said the Governor could either assent to the Bills, withhold assent and send
    them back to reconsider or refer them to the President, but cannot sit on Bills passed by
    a State Legislature.
  • It was the right of each House of Legislature to regulate its own proceedings.
  • The Speaker, who has been recognised to be the guardian of the privilege of the House
    and constitutionally recognised authority who represents the House, was acting well
    within his jurisdiction in adjourning the House sine die.
  • However, Speaker’s jurisdiction to adjourn sine die cannot be utilised to keep the House
    in a perpetual session.
    What are the some important Constitutional and Legislative Powers of the Governor over
    state legislature?
  • The governor has the right to address and send message, summon, prorogue and
    dissolve the State Legislature. These powers are formal, and the governor’s use of these

    powers must comply with the advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the chief
  • Article 200-The Governor may either assent, withhold assent or reserve the Bill for
    consideration by the President.
  • Article 201- When a Bill is reserved by a Governor for the consideration of the President,
    the President shall declare either that he assents to the Bill or that he withholds assent.
    – Provided where the Bill is not a Money Bill (Money Bill is defined in Article 110 of
    the Indian Constitution. Money bills are concerned with financial matters like
    taxation, public expenditure, etc).
    What are the special powers of the Speaker of the House of state legislature?
  • Adjournment of Sitting– He/She can adjourn the House or suspend the meeting in
    absence one-tenth of the total strength of the House (called the quorum).
  • Money Bill- He/She decides whether a bill is a money bill or not and his/her decision on
    this question is final.(Money bills are introduced only with the prior approval of the