11 ordinances expire after Kerala Governor refrains from signing them

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Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan | Photo: Sabu Scaria/ Mathrubhumi

Thiruvananthapuram: 11 ordinances, including the controversial Lok Ayukta Amendment Bill, turned invalid on Monday after Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan refrained from signing the extension of the ordinances.

Khan had said that he was not going to approve their re-promulgation without going through the ordinances first. He alleged that the state government sent him files hours before he left for Delhi. He added that he required more time to study the ordinances and that he couldn’t take a hasty decision on the matter.

Among the ordinances, the Kerala Lok Ayukta (Amendment) Ordinance curtailed the powers of the ombudsman to sack ministers or the chief minister of the state. The amendment provides that the Governor, Chief Minister or the state government would be the competent authority and he or she may either accept or reject the declaration by the Lok Ayukta, after giving an opportunity of being heard (to the accused).

Khan also said ruling through such means "is not desirable in a democracy". "During certain emergencies, you can bring in an ordinance. Thereafter, it has to be ratified in the assembly session. It cannot happen that you continue promulgating the ordinance again and again. Why is there a Legislative Assembly if you are going to rule through ordinances," Khan said.

In the instant case there is no explanation why such emergency measures should continue, he added.

The government maintained hope till late evening on Monday that the Governor would assent the ordinances at the last moment. The government's apparent move to curtail the powers of chancellor (Governor) of state universities in appointment of the VCs may have provoked Khan to take a strong position. This is a new step in the Governor vs state government fight in Kerala. Despite skirmishes, Khan had not taken such severe steps so far.

(With inputs from PTI)

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