Withholding Bills


The Supreme Court took note of the Tamil Nadu government's Argument that the constitution does not provide the governor discretion to withhold the 10 bills “repassed” by the state legislative Assembly.


The powers of a Governor in signing a bill in India are outlined in the Constitution and involve several scenarios:

  1. Assent to Bills: Once a bill is passed by both houses of the state legislature (Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council, if applicable), it is sent to the Governor for assent. The Governor has three options:
  1. Give Assent: If the Governor approves the bill, they sign it, and the bill becomes law.
  2. Withhold Assent: The Governor can refuse to sign the bill. However, this is rare and is typically used in exceptional circumstances when the bill is unconstitutional or violates certain provisions.
  3. Reserve for President's Consideration: If the bill is of substantial public importance or violates the Constitution, the Governor can reserve it for the President's consideration. The President may approve, disapprove, or return the bill for reconsideration.
  1. Discretionary Powers: The Governor has discretionary powers when it comes to signing bills, but these powers are limited by constitutional provisions. Generally, the Governor acts on the advice of the Council of Ministers led by the Chief Minister. However, there are certain situations where the Governor may use their discretion.
  2. Timeframe for Assent: The Governor has a specific timeframe within which to take action on a bill. If the Governor neither signs nor returns the bill for reconsideration within the stipulated time period, the bill is deemed to have received the Governor's assent and becomes law.
  3. Money Bills: In the case of a money bill, the Governor cannot withhold assent. They are required to give their assent within 14 days; otherwise, the bill is considered to have received assent.
  4. Constitutional Limits: The Governor's powers regarding bills are subject to constitutional provisions and limitations. They must act within the framework of the Constitution and are not empowered to create laws independently.

The role of the Governor in signing bills is a significant part of the legislative process, ensuring that proposed laws meet constitutional requirements and serve the public interest.

Veto Powers of Governor

In India, the Governor holds veto powers with regard to legislation, allowing them to influence the passing of bills. There are different types of veto powers that the Governor can exercise:

  1. Absolute Veto: The Governor can refuse to give assent to a bill. This absolute veto can prevent a bill from becoming law. However, this power is rarely used and is typically reserved for extreme circumstances where the bill is unconstitutional or violates certain provisions.
  2. Suspensive Veto: The Governor can use a suspensive veto by reserving a bill for the President's consideration. This means the Governor neither accepts nor rejects the bill but sends it to the President for their decision. The President may approve the bill, withhold approval, or return it to the Governor for reconsideration.
  3. Pocket Veto: If the Governor neither signs nor returns the bill within the stipulated time frame, the bill is deemed to have received the Governor's assent. However, if the Governor deliberately delays the decision, it acts as a "pocket veto," effectively preventing the bill from becoming law without explicitly refusing assent.

It's important to note that while the Governor has veto powers, they are expected to act within the confines of the Constitution and not arbitrarily use their veto authority. The Governor's veto powers are meant to serve as a check and balance in the legislative process, ensuring that proposed laws are in accordance with constitutional principles and the public interest.


Posted by on 21st Nov 2023