Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Governor Arif Muhammed Khan Thursday fired an opening salvo terming as improper the state government’s moving the Supreme Court against CAA without first informing him.
Being the constitutional head of the state, he should have been informed first, the governor responded also saying that he is not a rubber stamp.
Following this, the chief minister reacted in equal vehemence. Kerala is not a vassal kingdom, he said in reference to the governor’s not signing an ordinance approved by the cabinet, opening spats after a hiatus.
The government had moved the apex court on Monday against the new Citizenship law, saying it was contradictory to constitutional ethos.
Protocol demanded that he should have been informed first rather than coming to know about it from newspapers, Khan told reporters at the airport here.
He also wondered whether the state could move the apex court without the Governor's approval.
Despite being the constitutional head of the state, Khan said he had come to know through newspapers the petition in the Supreme Court
"I am the constitutional head of the state, and I come to know through newspapers that the government has challenged the constitutional validity. But the protocol demanded that they should have informed me first," Khan said.
"Even the rules of the Assembly provide that the legislature shall not discuss any subject which does not come under their constitutional jurisdiction," he said.
"I have no problem if they go to the Supreme Court.
Even then, I feel that without informing the constitutional head of the state, what they have done is improper," he said.
On reports that he had not signed the ordinance with respect to the amendments to Kerala Panchayat Raj Act 1994 to increase the number of constituencies in Local Self- governments, Khan said he was not a 'rubber stamp', as the Constitution expects him to apply his mind and to ensure that the process of ordinance was not used for some extraneous purposes.
Khan has been at loggerheads with the LDF government since it convened a special assembly session to pass a resolution seeking to scrap the Citizenship Amendment Act.(CAA)
Moreover, the government moved the apex court on Monday against the new Citizenship law, saying CAA was contradictory to constitutional ethos.
The Governor dismissed the passing of the resolution and questioned how a state government could use a "constitutional body" (Assembly) to denounce an Act of "another constitutional" body (Parliament).
"But this is breach of protocol, breach of courtesy and I will also look whether without the approval of the Governor, the state government can go to the Supreme Court, I will have to look into this issue also... they should have informed me," Khan said.
After a section of the media came out with reports saying the Governor had refused to sign the ordinance on the Local Self-Government ward reorganisation, which had recently received the cabinet nod, Khan said he had only raised certain questions as he has to be satisfied.
The Constitution expects him to apply his mind and to ensure that the process of ordinance was not used for some extraneous purposes, he said adding he has to satisfy himself before taking a decision.
"I consider myself under the law and nobody else is above the law. Law will have to be respected, enforced and clearly I am not a rubber stamp", he said.
The Governor further said he had also raised certain questions on the desirability of having an ordinance when Assembly was going to meet in a few days time.
Slightly edited version of the PTI story