In a significant development, nearly a month after the Supreme Court’s observation regarding the role of governors, Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit has reserved three bills passed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in June 2023 for the consideration of President Droupadi Murmu. The bills in question are the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2023, the Punjab Universities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2023, and The Punjab Police (Amendment) Bill, 2023.
Context and Background:
The move comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s assertion that a governor cannot withhold approval of key bills. The pending bills hold significant implications for the state, and their reservation by the governor adds to the ongoing constitutional discourse.
Details of the Pending Bills:
- Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2023:
The content and proposed amendments of this bill, pertaining to Sikh Gurdwaras, are crucial for the religious and cultural landscape of Punjab.
- Punjab Universities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2023:
This bill addresses the amendment of laws related to Punjab universities. Of particular note is the provision seeking to replace the governor with the chief minister as the chancellor of state universities. This move by the AAP government responds to earlier objections by the governor regarding procedures for appointing Vice-Chancellors of specific universities.
- The Punjab Police (Amendment) Bill, 2023:
The amendments proposed in this bill hold significance for the functioning and structure of the Punjab Police, potentially impacting law enforcement in the state.
Supreme Court Observation:
The Supreme Court’s recent observation emphasized the limitation of a governor’s role in withholding approval for key bills. This has triggered debates about the constitutional powers of governors and their interaction with state legislatures.
Implications and Next Steps:
The reservation of these bills for the consideration of the President adds a layer of complexity to the ongoing constitutional discourse. The final decision and subsequent steps will unfold as the President examines the bills and considers their constitutional and legal implications.