CM will take appropriate action, says Kerala Guv on Saji Cheriyan's controversial remark

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Arif Mohammed Khan | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Thiruvananthapuram: Reacting to minister Saji Cheriyan’s anti-Constitution remarks, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan said that public representatives have obligation towards the Constitution’. He pointed out that all should be aware about their responsibilities and shared his hope that “Chief Minister will take proper decision over the matter”.

Leaving the ball in the Kerala CM's court, the Governor said he cannot comment upon the issue as he did not have all the details, but he was aware that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought an explanation from the minister.

"I do not know the details, so I am not in a position to comment. I am sure the leader of the government will take notice of that and then I will also be informed accordingly. I came to know about it only a few hours back," Khan said, answering reporters' queries on the issue and his stand on the same.

"Then, I came to know the CM has asked for an explanation. So, it is not right to say I have sought any report. So far I have not," he said.

Khan while speaking to media persons informed that he has not sought an explanation from Saji Cheriyan. However, he added that he is closely observing the matter.

The Governor said there was an elected government in the state and everybody had taken an oath of being faithful to the Constitution which was not an exercise in semantics, rather an expression of national faith.

"We all as citizens of India have a duty to uphold the Constitution and the law and those who are charged with the special responsibility -- those holding elected offices -- they take an oath before they enter the office.

"They take the oath to uphold the Constitution and the law and I hope with all sincerity that everyone will be conscious of one's responsibility," he added.

Khan also said that he was "keeping a watch" on what was being reported in the news media regarding the issue and he was sure and confident everyone will be faithful to the oath they have taken.

On whether any request has been made by his office to the government for footage of Cheriyan's speech in which harsh remarks were made against the Constitution, Khan said he was not aware of the same.

Cherian, a two-time legislator from the Chengannur Assembly constituency in Alappuzha district, while taking part in a meeting at Pathanamthitta, had said, "The Indian Constitution is not fair to the labour class as there is no protection for them."

He slammed the judiciary and said, "In labour cases the courts are favourable to the business people and that's what has helped the Adanis and Ambanis."

It may be noted that in the matters like anti-SilverLine protests, withholding Hema Commission report and Kerala adoption row Cherian pitched with statements and had received flak.

Cheriyan's remarks against the Constitution have resulted in protests by BJP and Congress in various parts of the state demanding his resignation. Effigies of the minister were also burnt.

Both Congress and BJP have also sent complaints to the Governor's office seeking his intervention in the matter and alleging that the minister's remarks were unconstitutional.

Both parties have sought that the minister be expelled by the Governor.

Congress also urged the Governor to strip Cheriyan off his MLA position as well. The party has also lodged a police complaint in Pathanamthitta seeking appropriate legal action against the minister under the Prevention of Insults to the National Honour Act.

In the visuals aired by the local TV channels, the Kerala minister could be seen saying in a recent event that the Constitution of the country "condones exploitation" and is written in a way helping to "plunder" the people of the country.

In a statement given in the state Assembly on Tuesday afternoon, Cheriyan said news reports claiming he had criticised the Constitution at an event held at Mallappally in Pathanamthitta district were "distorted".

"I am a public servant who respects our Constitution and upholds its noble values...I have never once intended to insult the Constitution or say anything against it," he said.

(with PTI inputs)

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