Kerala govt to approach SC over Guv's refusal to sign bills, Khan welcomes move

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan (left) and Governor Arif Mohammed Khan during the visit of President Droupadi Murmu to Kochi in March this year. File photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday slammed Governor Arif Mohammed Khan for refusing to sign the bills passed by the state assembly adding that the State government will approach the Supreme Court if this stalemate continues.

Meanwhile, the Kerala Governor said that he will not succumb to the threats made by the Chief Minister. “I welcome the government's plan to move the apex court,” he said.

"Approaching the court will help fix the state government's uncertainty and confusion. During the financial crisis, the government spent Rs 40 lakh on legal advice alone. The huge sum was spent when there were no funds to pay the employees. I am not a person who gives in to pressure," said the Governor.

Addressing a press conference here, Vijayan said as many as eight bills passed by the Assembly after detailed deliberations were submitted for the approval of the Governor under Article 200 of the Constitution. However, he said these bills have not become law even after a long period. The state government can only seek legal remedy over the issue, the CM explained. The government had already sought the opinion of Senior lawyer Fali S Nariman on whether the Governor has the power to indefinitely hold the bills without giving the nod, he said.

"The government is planning to approach the Apex court and seek the service of senior lawyer K K Venugopal to present the case," Vijayan said.

Launching a scathing attack against the Governor for not signing the bills, the CM said Khan's action reminds one of the colonial era. There are 8 bills pending with the Governor, awaiting his signature and three of them have been lying there for one year and 10 months, he noted.

"As per the constitution, the Governor cannot unnecessarily delay the bills sent to him after the Assembly passes them," the Chief Minister pointed out. Even the Public Health Bill, against which there were no objections from any quarter, has been pending for more than 5 months. Referring to the Vice Chancellor's appointments to universities, he said it got delayed due to the delay in enacting important bills regarding the university administration.

He charged that the Governor's actions were against the spirit of Parliamentary democracy. "Assembly represents the wishes of the people. So, the Governor should immediately sign the bills sent to him after adoption by the Assembly," Vijayan said similar situations prevail in states like Telangana and Tamil Nadu. "Telangana is also taking a legal course to solve the issue," the CM said. He said the concerned ministers had personally visited the Governor and provided clarification regarding the bills after the Governor sought an audience with them. Even after such meetings these bills were not signed, the CM alleged.

(With PTI inputs.)

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