“Our Governor is not ready...” How Tamil Nadu CM Stalin moves resolution against RN Ravi

(This article is authored by Alar)

The relationship between Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi and chief minister MK Stalin has turned sour over the issue of the Governor's powers and functions. On Monday, 10 April 2023, Stalin moved a resolution in the state assembly remarking that Ravi is not acting as a friend and not as an adversary of the elected government.

The resolution accused Ravi of interfering in the administration and policy matters of the state, violating the constitutional norms and conventions. It also alleged that Ravi was acting as an agent of the central government and trying to undermine the country's federal structure.

Speaking in the State Assembly, Stalin said, "This is the second resolution I am bringing against Governor. The Sarkaria Commission had said that Governor should be a detached figure. Dr Ambedkar has said that Governor should not intervene within the authority of the State Government. Several Supreme Court orders have said that the Governor should be a guide. But our Governor is not ready to be a friend of the people."

"He spoke about the Bills passed in favour of Tamil Nadu people in the public platform, especially when the PM comes to Chennai or when I go to Delhi. He refuses to give assent online gambling ban bill and says that the Bill withheld is flat. As per Constitution, if a Bill is returned, once passed and sent back, Governor should give assent. Giving the authority of signing to a nominated person while the law is passed by the Legislative Assembly must be pondered," he added.

"This august House records with deep regret the action of the Governor of Tamil Nadu in indefinitely withholding many Bills without giving permission, passed by the Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu - on the basis of its sovereignty and the legislative responsibilities enshrined in the Constitution of India - thereby functioning against the welfare of the people of Tamil Nadu," the Resolution read.

"In order to establish the legislative power of the Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu and refrain Governor from continuing to act against the interests of the people of Tamil Nadu and thereby tarnishing the principles of democracy and the sovereignty of this august Legislative Assembly, this august House unanimously insists that the Union Government and the President should immediately issue appropriate instructions to the Governor to assent to the Bills passed by this Assembly within a specific period," it added.

The resolution came after a series of clashes between Ravi and Stalin over various issues, such as appointing vice-chancellors, transferring officials, allocating funds, and implementing welfare schemes. Ravi, who is a former IPS officer and intelligence chief, has been asserting his authority as the Governor and issuing directions to the state government on several matters.

Ravi, who took charge as the Governor of Tamil Nadu on 18 September 2021, was previously the Governor of Nagaland and Meghalaya. He was also the interlocutor for the Naga peace talks between the central government and the NSCN-IM rebel group. However, he faced criticism from the Naga groups for allegedly misinterpreting and manipulating the 2015 framework agreement signed by them.

Stalin's resolution has sparked a political controversy in Tamil Nadu, with some parties supporting him and others opposing him. The ruling DMK and its allies have accused Governor Ravi of being biased and exceeding his authority, while the opposition AIADMK and BJP have accused Stalin of disrespecting and confronting the Governor.