End Kerala rhetoric, get on with jobs  

In what could lead to a constitutional crisis, the Governor has declared he will not sign two bills recently passed by the Kerala assembly.

Published: 26th September 2022 07:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th September 2022 07:29 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan. (Photo | EPS)

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan. (Photo | EPS)

That Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan is angry with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and his LDF government is an understatement. He is absolutely livid and makes it clear at every opportunity—pouring his sense of outrage into the sympathetic ears of the media almost every day. With Vijayan too deciding to reply in kind, the exchange has breached the boundaries of a civil debate. 

In what could lead to a constitutional crisis, the Governor has declared he will not sign two bills recently passed by the Kerala assembly. One pertains to changes made in rules for appointing vice-chancellors in state universities, and the other is intended to alter the Lok Ayukta Act. Khan contends that the University Laws (Amendment) Bill is aimed at curbing his powers as chancellor and enabling the government to have a decisive say in the selection of VCs, thus compromising the autonomy of universities. His objection to the Lok Ayukta (Amendment) Bill is that it would enable a public servant accused of illegal actions to be “a judge in his own cause”.

His outbursts indicate Khan has many bones to pick with the government and is repeatedly raking up a 2019 incident to attribute direct and indirect roles to the government and chief minister in what he considers was an attempt to intimidate him and cause physical harm. The said incident occurred during the Indian History Congress at Kannur University, where he was involved in a skirmish with historian Irfan Habib. The governor certainly has a duty to point out illegalities and lapses in the state government’s actions. But, as a representative of the Centre, the governor is also expected to facilitate the smooth functioning of the democratic system, not stall it.

When a bill passed by the assembly is presented, the governor has four options—clear it immediately, temporarily withhold, reserve it for the consideration of the President or return without signing. The only option before the government if the governor does not exercise any of the options is to approach the judiciary. That is a situation both the government and governor will do well to avoid. Both must also tone down the rhetoric, which is as pointless as it is acerbic. The current standoff doesn’t augur well for democracy. The governor must perform his duty and let the government carry on with its.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp