Governor-CM face-off: AG and Kodiyeri's versions differ from that of Pinarayi

Governor-CM face off: AG and Kodiyeri's versions differ from that of Pinarayi
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and CM Pinarayi Vijayan

The responses of those associated with the LDF Government in the Governor-Chief Minister tussle is turning out to be more confusing than revealing.

Advocate general, K Gopalakrishna Kurup, after being closeted with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for nearly an hour at the Aluva Guest House, said that he had not given any legal advice to the Governor. "Neither have I given the Governor any legal advice nor has the Governor asked for it," the AG told reporters waiting for him outside the Guest House. "I am also not bound to give any legal advice to the Governor," the AG said before getting away from the media in haste.

This was precisely what the Governor was trying to say on December 12, that the AG's opinion was not meant for him.

Nonetheless, while addressing the media in Kannur on December 12, the chief minister had said that the Governor had sought and was given legal advice on the Kannur VC issue by the highest legal authority in the state, the AG. Pinarayi said this in a manner that suggested that the Government had done all it could to convince the Governor of the suitability of reappointing Gopinath Ravindran as the vice chancellor of Kannur University.

The chief minister's remark had apparently angered the Governor. He pointed out that the AG's opinion was addressed to the Higher Education secretary, and not to him.

In fact, when the AG's opinion on the reappointment of the Kannur VC was first brought to Khan it did not even have the signature of the AG. Here is what the Governor wrote in the missive he had shot to the chief minister on December 8: "In the matter of appointment of vice chancellor of Kannur University I tried my best to persuade your legal advisor (deputed by you to talk to me) to appreciate that "reappointment" is not the same as "extension" of the term of the incumbent. It does not mean to dispense with the prescribed procedure. But he insisted that his advice was based on the opinion of the Advocate General of the State."

The Governor further states: "Then I told him that if the unsigned note he had given me has been vetted by the AG, then I would like to have this opinion under the signature and seal of the AG. Your legal advisor produced the document on the same day evening."

When the opinion came signed, it was addressed to the Higher Education secretary, and not to the Governor. Perhaps, it was this insistence of the Governor to get the 'orphaned' opinion signed by the AG that must have prompted the chief minister to claim that Khan had sought for the AG's advice.

However, Khan found in the AG's advice an attempt to "browbeat him into submission". "Who asked them to bring me the AG's opinion. I did not ask for it. The AG's opinion was that there was no need to follow the established procedures. He may be right but who asked him to give me the opinion? If I wanted an opinion, I would ask for it," the Governor said, and added: “This was clearly an attempt to browbeat me into submitting myself to their views.”

Now the AG, contradicting the chief minister, says that neither had he proffered the Governor any advice nor had the Governor sought any.

The events that led to the Search Committee submitting just one nominee for the Kalady Sanskrit University's VC's post is also getting murkier. On December 12, the chief minister said he had oral information that the Governor himself had told a senior person in the Higher Education Department that instead of a panel of three names a single name was enough.

The Governor had refuted it saying if he was fine with just one name why did he send the file back to the chief minister.

On Monday, CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan gave yet another version. According to him, it was to the Search Committee that the Governor told that only one name was enough. Pinarayi had said the Governor had told this to a senior official in the Higher Education Department.

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