Amid escalation of war of words between him and the Left Democratic Front government, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan made it clear on Sunday he will not remain a ‘mute spectator’ as he sought a report from it over moving the Supreme Court against the Citizenship law without informing him.
Days after the Governor hit out at the Pinarayi Vijayan government for not informing him before moving the apex court and declaring that he was not a ‘rubber stamp’, the Raj Bhavan sought the report from the state Chief Secretary on the matter.
“The Governor’s office has sought a report from the Chief Secretary for not informing him about the state’s move to approach the apex court against the CAA,” a top Raj Bhavan source told PTI on Sunday.
Confirming that he had sought the report, Khan, who arrived in Thiruvananthapuram this evening from Bengaluru, told reporters that it should not be seen as a ‘personal fight’.
“This is not personal fight. My only concern is that the Constitution and the law must be upheld and the business of the government must be transacted in accordance with the law,” he said.
Khan’s stand had drawn the ire of ruling front with Communist Party of India-Marxist mouthpiece Deshabhimani slamming him for making ‘political statements’ and alleging he was ‘threatening’ the state in a ‘tough language’.
However, the government has said it did not violate any rules and no deliberate attempts had been made to challenge the authority of the governor’s office.
Law Minister A K Balan had said on Saturday the government would clear all apprehensions raised by Khan.
Days after passing a resolution in the assembly against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the state government had on January 13 approached the supreme court against the controversial law.
An upset Khan had on Thursday said it was ‘improper’ and protocol and courtesy demanded that he should have been informed by the government prior to moving the court.
Khan, who has been at loggerheads with the LDF regime since it convened a special assembly session to pass the resolution seeking scrapping of the CAA, on Sunday said the government moving the court without his knowledge was an illegal act.
“This is in contravention of the rules. This is an illegal act. I am not fighting any personal vengeance. I am just pointing out that the law and Constitution must be upheld,” he said.
When pointed out that the law minister had said no rule had been violated by the state government, the Governor challenged him to show the law.
“Let him quote the Law. I am quoting here. Even after this, you are saying somebody has given his personal opinion. I am giving you the law. What the government has done was illegal. Let them show me the provision. I will take everything back. I will not sit like a mute spectator. I have to ensure that the Constitution and the law are upheld.”
Khan further said: “Please do not make it as a personal fight. I am not important. What is more important is the Constitution and the law of the land. My only point is that the transactions of business of the state must be done according to the law.”
Attacking Vijayan, the governor had earlier said the public affairs and the business of the government cannot be run in accordance with the ‘whims of an individual or a political party’ and everyone has to respect the rules.
Khan had told reporters in Delhi on Friday that as per Rule of Business Sec 34 (2) sub section 5, the state government should inform the Governor regarding matters that affect the relations between the state and the Centre.
CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Sunday said in independent India the post of governor was superfluous.
“Now we are not subjects of the central government. We need to start the discussions whether the post of governor is required or not,” he said in Thiruvananthapuram.
The Governor’s role was that of a representative of the President, he said adding it was a continuation of the colonial era.
Meanwhile, CPI-M state secretary, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan alleged Khan was making ‘unnecessary interference’ in the day-to-day affairs of the state government.
‘The Governor is defaming a state government which was elected by the people of the state. The post of Governor is not to defame the state government,’ Balakrishnan said in an article in the party newspaper.