Friday, February 23rd, 2024

Kerala CM got illegal work done under pressure, Governor Arif Mohammed’s pain erupted over Supreme Court’s ‘rubber stamp’

Thiruvananthapuram: The Supreme Court expressed displeasure over the role of Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan as Chancellor while canceling the reappointment of Gopinath Raveendran as the Vice Chancellor of Kannur University. The top court said that as Chancellor of state universities he cannot be a ‘rubber stamp’ to merely endorse or approve any decision taken elsewhere. On this comment of the Supreme Court, the Governor of Kerala has now said that he is not a rubber stamp or a yes man, who will give his approval to the bills passed by the Kerala Assembly without applying his mind. Khan said that when any ordinance or bill comes before him, he applies his mind to find out whether it is constitutional and legally correct or not. He accused the Kerala CM of putting pressure on him for the reappointment of Gopinath Raveendran.

Soon after the verdict was announced, Khan recalled the events that led him to reappoint Raveendran as the Vice Chancellor of Kannur University and blamed Chief Minister Vijayan for it. Khan said state Higher Education Minister Bindu cannot be blamed as the Chief Minister used her (Bindu) to demand Raveendran’s reappointment.

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‘Legal advisor had come with Vijayan’s OSD’

Arif Khan claimed that a person claiming to be the Chief Minister’s personal legal advisor had come to meet him along with Vijayan’s OSD (Officer on Special Duty). He was requested not to follow the normal process of appointing the Vice Chancellor of Kannur University. He claimed that both of them later brought a letter from Higher Education Minister Bindu and the legal opinion of the state advocate general to stop the regular appointment process and reappoint Raveendran as vice-chancellor.

‘Made me do illegal work’

Governor Arif Khan said, ‘I told them that the proposal they were making was illegal. Since they came with the legal opinion of the Advocate General, I agreed, but I told them that what they are asking me to do is illegal, irregular and not in accordance with the law.’ He said, ‘After this, I wrote a letter to the Chief Minister saying that what he has done to me is illegal and he (Chief Minister) will continue to put pressure on me in other matters also.’

Governor Arif Mohammed said that no bill or ordinance made for the welfare of the people of Kerala will remain on his table even for an hour. He said, ‘I will dispose of it immediately. But where they (the government) use the power of law to destroy institutions, universities and their autonomy and go against the spirit of the Constitution, they cannot expect me to agree with them.

What did Governor Arif Mohammad say?

The governor said, ‘I am not a rubber stamp.’ Regarding the seven bills reserved for the President’s assent, Khan said he had waited for almost two years for ministers to come and explain the contents of those bills. He said, ‘The minister came but could not give clarification.’

Khan said that since the government decided to approach the Supreme Court instead of giving the clarification he sought, he sent the seven bills to the President. He justified his action by claiming that four of the seven bills were in the nature of money bills as they involved expenditure and hence prior permission of the Governor was required to introduce them in the state assembly.

‘Three bills against UGC’

Regarding the remaining three, Khan said that these bills are contrary to UGC rules. His decision was criticized by leader of the opposition in the assembly, V.D. Satheesan. He said that the Governor cannot unnecessarily stop the bills passed by the Assembly. He said, ‘They should not keep the bills unreasonably on hold for almost two years.’ He also said that the opposition is against the content of the pending bills. He also claimed that there is no dispute or difference of opinion between the Governor and the state government and all this is an action to mislead the public.

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