THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Governor Arif Mohammad Khan has refused to sign the ordinance with respect to the amendments to Kerala Panchayat Raj Act 1994 and Kerala Municipality Act 1994 to increase the number of constituencies in local self-governments.
It has been two weeks since the government submitted the ordinance. The delay in approval is viewed as an offshoot of already strained relations between the two offices.
The latest development follows a memorandum by Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala who accused that the ordinance was ill-timed and against the provisions of Census Act 1948 and its rules.
The governor had earlier returned the file in this regard following the complaint raised by the opposition leader that the reorganisation of the local body wards would adversely affect the census procedures. The government then replied it would not affect and again submitted the draft for approval.
The ward reorganisation, a policy decision of the ruling LDF, aims to carve out one new ward each in all panchayats, municipal corporations and city corporations in the state. Senior Congress leader K C Joseph welcomed the governor’s decision. He said the government could have brought the Bill in the recent special session of the assembly. It is learnt Khan has conveyed his displeasure to LSG Minister A C Moideen.
“The building number and census house number is mandatory in the proforma of House Listing and House Census Schedule stipulated under Census of India 2021. Here the change of constituency by the new ordinance leads to change of building number which creates misperception in the process of census which is having thoughtful consequences,” Chennithala said in his complaint. LSG Minister AC Moideen said the government was firm on its decision on ward reorganisation. However, we do not wish for a confrontation with the governor’s office, he said.
The governor’s action has put the government in a crisis. The government could have introduced a bill in the assembly session beginning this month-end if the draft was rejected. The Bill cannot be introduced if the governor does not sent back the draft.
- The grama panchayats, block panchayats, district panchayats, municipalities and corporations were to get an additional member through an ordinance
- The grama panchayats were to have a minimum of 14 members instead of 13. The upper limit was to be 24 instead of 23.