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Governor withholds nod to Kerala Professional Colleges (Regularisation of Admission in Medical Colleges) Bill

Putting to an end all moves to regularise the controversial admissions to Kannur and Karuna Medical Colleges, Governor P Sathasivam declined his nod to the admission regularisation bill.

Published: 07th April 2018 11:14 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th April 2018 03:20 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala governor P Sathasivam (File photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Putting to an end all moves to regularise the controversial admissions to Kannur and Karuna Medical Colleges, Governor P Sathasivam on Saturday declined his nod to the admission regularisation bill. Invoking his discretionary powers, the Governor withheld assent to the Kerala Professional Colleges (Regularisation of Admission in Medical Colleges) Bill 2018, unanimously passed by the Kerala Assembly to regularise the irregular admissions to Kannur and Karuna Medical Colleges.

The Governor withholding his assent to the bill has come as a major setback to not only Pinarayi Vijayan's Left Government, but also opposition UDF which had extended full support to unanimously pass the same. Earlier in the morning, a BJP delegation had met the Governor seeking to refuse his nod for the legislation. Senior  Congress leader VM Sudheeran also had urged the Governor to decline the bill.

"I hereby withhold the assent to this bill," said the order from the Governor's office to the state government. The Governor, who is a former Chief Justice of India, took the call based on legal advice in addition to taking into consideration the dissent notes from government secretaries. He withheld his assent invoking his discretionary powers under Article 200 of the Constitution.

As per legal advice received by the Governor's office, the bill may not stand legal scrutiny the wake of the SC verdict. Sources said the Governor has made clear that the Supreme Court had mentioned about the conditions to be followed during admissions. The Apex Court has made clear that regularising the admissions bypassing its order cannot be accepted. Since the SC has made all these things clear, the assent was withheld.

It's learnt that the dissent notes from the government secretaries was also taken into consideration. Education secretary Rajeev Sadanandan had reportedly expressed concerns and recorded his dissent note. He had pointed out that the bill could be termed as contempt of court.

The Supreme Court had earlier nullified the government ordinance in this regard. With the validity of the ordinance ending on Sunday, the bill won't survive at all.

Government to consult opposition; No further action likely

The government will take a call on the future course of action in the matter in consultation with the opposition, said law minister AK Balan. Speaking to 'Express', he said the government has no disagreement with the Governor in the issue.

There's nothing wrong in the Governor's action. Withholding the bill is not an anti-constitutional move, AK Balan said while adding that the legislation was not intended to insult the Apex Court or to violate its verdict.

"The government took all efforts to help the students. That's why the legislation was introduced. The Governor can take four options - to approve, decline, send it to the President or return seeking clarifications. He chose to decline assent to the legislation. There was nothing wrong in the action," Balan said.

In the wake of the recent Apex Court verdict and observations while rejecting the ordinance in the issue, the government was almost sure that the legislation may not pass the Governor's nod. The Chief Minister had even decided not to further push for the bill once the Governor returns the same.

Since the government does not want to be in a confrontation with the court, chances are less for the government to take it forward. "If the government wins the case before the government, it can introduce a fresh bill. But chances are less," sources said.

Government Submits the Bill on Saturday

Contrary to reports and earlier information from official sources, the government submitted the Bill for Governor's nod only on Saturday. In the morning soon after reports started coming that the bill has not been submitted till then, Law Secretary BG Hareendranath went to Rajbhavan and submitted the bill in person before the Governor.

The Bill was given along with five other bills and 13 ordinances, approved by the Cabinet to be reissued. There are unconfirmed reports that the Governor expressed unhappiness over the government creating an impression that the bill was already submitted on Friday.

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