A visit by Chief Secretary Tom Jose to Raj Bhavan on Monday appeared to have no moderating effect on the politically charged tug-of-war between Governor Arif Mohammad Khan and the State government.
Hours after the ‘conciliatory’ call by Mr. Jose, Mr. Khan told journalists that the State government’s decision to appeal against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in the Supreme Court (SC) without informing Raj Bhavan was an “unlawful act, not legally correct and no explanation can satisfy me.”
However, he appeared to leave a window open for rapprochement. “The case can be closed if the unlawful action is withdrawn. I am not asking anything. I am just saying that this, in my opinion, is unlawful. My perception in the matter is not a subject of discussion at this stage,” he said, adding he could not discuss his further course of action. “But one thing I can assure you, I will not allow the Constitutional machinery in the State to collapse,” he said.
The Governor declined to hold forth on whether the Constitutional machinery in Kerala had collapsed or not. However, he said the government “should not use constitutional institutions and authority to violate the letter and spirit of the very document which has given you this authority.”
Mr. Khan said the Chief Minister was duty-bound to submit to the Governor the category of cases that affect the relations of the State with the Centre, other States or involved the High Court or the Supreme Court.
Article 166 of the Constitution states the Chief Minister should refer such cases to the Governor before passing an order. “It is mandatory, not advisory,” he said.
The Governor took a dig at CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury who on Sunday questioned the need of the post of Governor in a federal set-up. “Mr. Yechury has not faulted me for my actions. He is only seeking the abolishment of the Governor’s office. Hence, there is nobody to oversee that the rules and Constitution are followed. Such an authority only the people can give them. Mr. Yechury is free to seek their mandate,” he said.