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Power Dynamics Shift! Punjab Govt Passes Bill to Remove Governor as University Chancellor, Sends it for Approval

Punjab News: In order to remove Governor Banwarilal Purohit from his position as chancellor of Punjab’s universities, the Punjab administration sent a bill to the state’s Raj Bhavan on Friday for the governor’s approval. The Governor later questioned the legal validity of the Punjab University Laws (Amendment) Bill 2023, which the Vidhan Sabha had enacted on June 20 during a special session.

Punjab CM Seeks Control over State University Chancellors

The Chief Minister was to be given authority over state university chancellors under the proposed legislation. The decision was made in the midst of a dispute between Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann over a number of topics, including the government’s nomination of vice chancellors for several universities. According to a representative, the state would now be closely monitoring whether or not the Raj Bhavan approves the current Bill. “The education department has sent two Bills to the Governor today. Let us see what happens,” a government official told The Indian Express on Friday. The Punjab Affiliated Colleges (Security of Service) Amendment Bill, 2023 was also sent by the education department in order to streamline the operations of the Education Tribunal, in addition to the Chancellors Bill.

Punjab Bills Await Approval as Governor Returns to Hometown

However, when contacted, Raj Bhavan sources claimed that the Governor had not yet received either of the Bills.“We have not received the pending two Bills yet. May be the government has despatched them and the dispatcher will get these delivered late in the evening. But the Governor is not going to be in Chandigarh for one week. He is going to his hometown. He will look at these bills when he returns,” a source from the Raj Bhavan said. As the administration had not succeeded in having the earlier session prorogued, the Governor previously stated in a press conference that he would seek legal advice on the sanctity of the Vidhan Sabha special session, which was intended to be an extension of the Budget Session. We’ll see what he does, a government official said. The Vidhan Sabha may pass the Bill once more and send it back to him if he returns it. He’ll have to agree to that in such scenario. However, if he chooses to hold off, the legislation will be powerless. Then approaching the judiciary’s doors would be the only option moving ahead. But whether he approves of the session is still up in the air. None of the four bills voted by the session would be cleared if he said it had no legal sanctity. A government official said, “We will see what he does. If he returns the Bill, the Vidhan Sabha can pass it again and send it back to him. In that case, he will have to give his assent. But if he decides to sit on the Bill, then the legislation cannot do anything. Then the only way forward would be knocking on the doors of the judiciary. But what remains to be seen is if he gives his approval for the session. If he say it has no legal sanctity, then none of the four Bills, passed by the session, would get cleared.”

Reforms in Police and Gurdwaras Underway

The Punjab Police (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2023 were also approved by the Vidhan Sabha. These were to establish a separate process for choosing and appointing qualified candidates to the position of Director General of Police, while the Gurdwaras. The Bill aimed to end a certain family’s excessive monopoly over the rights to show gurbani. These two bills had already been brought by the administration to the governor for approval. These had been sent by the Governor in response for legal counsel.

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