KOCHI: Though Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the government “will not go ahead with implementing” the controversial Section 188A of the Kerala Police (Amendment) Ordinance, experts said the law has come into effect and the only way it can be annulled is when it is recalled by its author (the governor, in this case) or when it is struck down by a competent court.
They said the government has to bring in another ordinance to repeal this law if it’s serious in its intention not to enforce the law. “Once the ordinance is notified, the law takes effect. If the government wants to undo it, it should withdraw it by another ordinance, if an immediate assembly session is not possible,” said eminent lawyer Kaleeswaram Raj. A law in force cannot be deferred by a press statement by the CM, he said.
Former Kerala law secretary B G Harindranath pointed out that the Kerala High Court, in September 2008, had pulled up the state government when then revenue secretary Nivedita P Haran put a certain section of the Kerala Land Reforms Act in “abeyance”. The court observed that it revealed “a complete ignorance of the system of governance that we have given unto ourselves by the solemn provisions of the Constitution of India”.
Harindranath said the ordinance can be allowed to lapse if the Kerala Assembly fails to give its assent to the new section within six months. In the statement, the chief minister said a detailed discussion will be held in the assembly regarding this, and the future course of action will be decided upon after duly considering the opinions coming from all quarters.
The former law secretary, however, said the better way for government would be to come up with another ordinance to repeal this “unconstitutional law”.“A law can be annulled only by methods recognised by law. Either it can be recalled by its author or struck down by a competent court. There is no other way,” added Kaleeswaram Raj.