Kerala government stonewalls Governor’s move to seek clarifications on Kerala Public Health Bill

The Bill is one among the eight legislations pending with Governor Arif Mohammed Khan. The Kerala government is set to approach the Supreme Court seeking to issue directions to the Governor to act on the pending Bills

October 12, 2023 01:50 pm | Updated 06:19 pm IST - KOCHI

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan | Photo Credit: M. SRINATH

The Kerala government has stonewalled the attempts of Governor Arif Mohammed Khan to seek clarifications on the objections raised against the Kerala Public Health Bill, 2021.

A section of traditional medicine practitioners had approached the Governor stating that the Bill was discriminatory in nature and interfered with their qualifications, medical practices and treatment systems. The Bill is one among eight legislation that are pending with the Governor. The Kerala government is all set to approach the Supreme Court seeking to issue directions to the Governor to act on the pending Bills.

Objecting to the Governor’s move, A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish, Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare), wrote to Raj Bhavan recently stating that entertaining such petitions before him by exhausting any one of the three courses of action provided by Article 200 of the Constitution may set a bad precedent. The Kerala government also reminded the Governor that such an act may not be in consonance with his Constitutional mandate.

The State wanted the Governor not to interfere with the Bill before him by resorting to the course of action provided by the Constitution as it may “amount to usurping the powers of the legislature by the executive and will be against the principles of separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution of India.”

The Governor can give or withhold his assent or reserve it for the consideration of the President. If he wants it to be reserved for the consideration of the President or returned to the legislature with a message, the Secretary to the Governor shall take necessary action in consultation with the Secretary to the Administrative department concerned and the Law Secretary, the State informed the Governor.

The State also reminded the Governor of the judgments of the Constitutional courts that the policy decisions of the State governments shall not be disturbed or interfered with unless they are found to be grossly arbitrary or irrational. While asserting that the apprehensions raised in the petitions were unfounded, the State suggested that parties had the right to challenge the legislation after it became an Act.

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