arif muhammed khan saji cheriyan
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Monday said he needs to go through the papers related to CPI(M) leader Saji Cheriyan's re-instatement into the Cabinet and said it was not a normal case.
The ruling CPI(M) decided on December 30, 2022 to bring Cheriyan back into the Cabinet and sent a letter to the Governor the next day seeking his convenience for administering the oath of office to the Left MLA on January 4.
Khan, who reached the State capital today, told reporters that Cheriyan's re-induction was "not a normal case" as he had to resign over allegations that he said something which lowered the dignity of the Constitution.
"I have not made up my mind. I have not seen any papers (documents). So I will first look at them, the background. If there was a case registered against him, at what level he was exonerated. I will have to see all that," the Governor said.
The Governor's move is likely to set the stage for a second round of tussle between him and the ruling Left government.
Khan said that in normal circumstances it was essential for the Governor to accept the recommendation of the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
"But, this is not a normal case. He (Cheriyan) is not being inducted for the first time. It is a case which is totally different," Khan said.
At the same time, he said he has not seen the request sent for administering oath to Cheriyan nor the advice provided on the issue by the legal advisor to the Governor.
The Governor, on receipt of the letter from the government for Cheriyan's induction, had sought legal advice in connection with administering the oath to the MLA in view of the allegations against the latter, an official source had said.
Cheriyan resigned in July last year from the Cabinet over his alleged remarks against the Constitution during a speech in Pathanamthitta district and the lodging of a criminal case against him in that connection.
The Congress and the BJP criticised the CPI(M) decision to re-instate the legislator as a Minister and termed the move as unacceptable and anti-Constitutional.
The Congress said it would observe January 4 as a 'Black Day'.
The CPI(M) State secretariat decision to re-induct Cheriyan came in the wake of the Kerala High Court on December 8, 2022 dismissing two pleas seeking a declaration that he was not entitled to hold the office of MLA in view of his speech.
The High Court had said no provision could be found in the Representation of People Act, 1951 to disqualify the MLA.
However, a criminal case against him connected with the same issue is pending adjudication in a Magisterial court.
The speech created a political row with the proceedings of the Assembly being suspended for a day due to protests by the Opposition demanding that Cheriyan resign or be sacked and finally resulted in his resignation from the Cabinet.