Kerala

Governor questions ordinance

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Khan says he will explain his position to the public

Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Friday said he had “few questions” about the ordinance that sought to increase the number of elected offices in Local Self-Government Institutions (LSGIs) by amending the Kerala Panchayati Raj and Kerala Municipality Acts.

Mr. Khan was yet to give his assent to the ordinance, which Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala had termed as ‘‘suspiciously timed and violative of the provisions of the Census Act, 1948.” The ordinance seeks to add at least one more ward to each local body.

The “delay” was widely perceived as part of a broader political tug-of-war between the government and the Raj Bhavan.

The relationship had hit rough weather after ruling front politicians criticised Mr. Khan for questioning the legal sanctity of the Assembly resolution that demanded the repeal of the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). He had also come under attack for his defence of the CAA.

The Governor said he was no “rubber stamp.” He had “raised certain questions about the desirability of having an ordinance at this stage when the Assembly is going to meet after a few days.”

The Constitution expected him to apply his mind. It was his prerogative to ensure that the process of the ordinance was not used for “extraneous purposes.”

He had not chosen to speak to the press about the issue. But the Minister had openly commented on the unsettled matter. “So I am constrained to tell you that I have merely raised some questions,” he said. The State had the power to issue an ordinance. However, it was not proper on the part of the Minister to broach the matter until the constitutional authority reached an informed decision.

Mr. Khan said there was certain “sanctity about such matters, which could not be done in “instalments.” He said he would “take his time” and come to a conclusion. The “Constitution expects me to apply my mind,” he said.

He reminded reporters of the legal maxim that nobody was above the law, however, exalted a person’s stature. “I shall ensure that nobody tries to cross boundaries set by the Constitution and the law,” he said.

He said once he decided on the ordinance, he would plainly explain his position to the public.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 11:18:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/governor-questions-ordinance/article30578045.ece

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