A total of 188 bills were sent for the consideration of President Pranab Mukherjee till date out of which he assented 155.
Bills that are passed by various state legislatures are usually assented by the Governor of the state. But in special cases where the Governor feels that a Presidential intervention is necessary, he sends it to the President for his consideration. Till date, a total of 188 state bills were sent for the consideration of President Pranab Mukherjee. He assented 82% (155) of them. The data for the previous presidents is not available to compare his performance with his predecessors.
Why does the President intervene in State bills?
As per article 200 of the constitution, the Governor of a state can reserve a bill passed by the state legislature for the consideration of the President. Usually, bills whose subject matter may be in conflict with a central law or bills on sensitive and important issues are sent for the consideration of the President.
Once the bill is received, the President can either assent the bill or withhold assent. He may also return the bill to the state legislature with a message. Any such bill which is returned by the President has to be reconsidered by the state legislature within six months.
Pranab Mukherjee withholds assent for 18 State bills
Out of the 188 state bills sent for his consideration, President Pranab Mukherjee assented 155 and withheld assent for 18 bills. As on date, 12 bills are returned with a message. Out of the 188 bills, there could be many other bills which have been earlier returned with a message and are now assented.
Most state bills sent in 2014
Out of the 188 bills, the most were sent in 2014 (51) followed by 2015 (48). The number reduced to 38 in 2016 and further reduced to 14 till date in 2017. There doesn’t seem to be any discernable pattern for the variation in number of bills across years.
Most bills sent from Maharashtra
Maharashtra with 24 such bills, accounted for most of the bills sent for the President’s consideration. One out every eight state bills sent to Pranab Mukherjee was from Maharashtra. Karnataka was second with 17 bills followed by Tamil Nadu with 14 bills. Only seven (7) states had 10 or more bills sent to the President. Less than five (5) bills each were sent to the President from 9 states. Only one bill was sent to the President from Jammu & Kashmir, Tripura, Sikkim and Telangana.
None of the bills from Delhi assented till date
There is very little in common among the bills whose assent is withheld by the President. Three of these bills were to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure. The assent is withheld for bills from 12 different states. Assent is withheld for 2 bills each from six states while it is withheld for a bill each from another six states. The assent is withheld for the ‘Plachimada Coca-Cola Victims Compensation claims Special Tribunal Bill, 2011’ also.
Out of the 5 bills sent from Delhi for the consideration of the President, none of them received the Presidential assent. The assent is withheld for 2 of them while the remaining three were returned with a message. All these bills were brought in by the Aam Aadmi Party government. The two bills whose assent is withheld include the amendment to the disqualification criteria of MLAs in the wake of controversy surrounding AAP MLAs being appointed as Parliamentary secretaries. The other bill seeks to amend the code of criminal procedure to extend the magisterial enquiry to cases referred by the state government. On the other hand, all the 24 bills sent from Maharashtra were assented by the President.
Three states (Telangana, Tamil Nadu & Gujarat) passed bills related to the land acquisition and all these three bills were assented by the President.