Kerala Governor cites lese majeste, demands answer

Arif Mohammad Khan

Arif Mohammad Khan  

Khan quotes rules, SC rulings in letter to Chief Secretary

Even as the Kerala government denied that it had infringed on the prerogative of the gubernatorial office, Governor Arif Mohammad Khan invoked his authority to ask the executive on Sunday to submit why it kept the Raj Bhavan in the dark about the move to appeal against the citizenship law in the Supreme Court.

Mr. Khan reportedly pointed out in a letter to the Chief Secretary that the Chief Minister was duty-bound under the rules of business of the government to refer specified category of cases that concerned Centre-State relations or involved the Supreme Court to the Governor before the administration acted.

Informed sources said Mr. Khan had extensively quoted rules and SC judgments to lay out his case.

Last week, Mr Khan had repeatedly said he felt short-changed by the government, which he suggested had crossed a line by not informing the constitutional head of State about its decision to challenge the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, a Central law, in the Supreme Cout.

Bid to defuse tension

Law Minister A.K. Balan had attempted on Saturday to defuse the political tensions. He said the government was legally obliged to answer the Governor’s questions and allay his “apprehensions.”

Mr. Balan also took legal sanctuary in the argument that the apex court had not turned down the State’s prayer on the ground that the lawsuit required the Governor’s consent.

Mr. Balan contended the State was not in conflict with the Centre. Hence, there was no imperative to inform the Governor. The State had merely invoked the provisions of Article 131 of the Constitution to file a civil suit in the Supreme Court against the CAA, which it felt discriminated against Muslims seeking citizenship status in India.

The placatory tone struck by the government was not echoed by the CPI(M). Party State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan wrote in its newspaper, Deshabhimani, on Sunday that Mr. Khan had acted like an apparatchik of the BJP. Several leaders who attended the party’s Central secretariat meeting here were also critical of the Governor.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 10:41:00 PM |

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