Governor signs Ordinance to amend Lok Ayukta Act

Thiruvananthapuram: In a major relief to the Pinarayi-led ruling government, the ordinance to amend the Lok Ayukta Act was signed by Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Monday. The move from the governor came a day after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan held a meeting with him following his return from abroad.

Earlier, the Congress has urged the Governor not to sign the ordinance. The party alleged that the CPI(M)-led government was trying to promulgate the ordinance at a time when complaints of several irregularities of the government were pending.

It is believed that CM has explained to the governer the need for amending Section 14 of the Kerala Lok Ayukta Act, 1999, citing it as "constitutionally untenable". The government has also obtained the legal opinion and thus went ahead with the amendment.

With signing the ordinance, the government will be able to schedule the assembly session by calling a cabinet meeting. The approval also prevented an opportunity for the opposition from objecting to the amendment during assembly session.

During the meeting, the Chief Minister assured the Governor that the decision was not politically motivated. This might have prompted the Governor to change his stand on the issue.

Earlier, the government has tabled the ordinance in Raj Bhavan arguing that the Lok Ayukta has certain powers that are unconstitutional.

The Governor refused to sign the ordinance for almost two weeks and sought a reply from the government for the need to amend the act. Opposition leader VD Satheesan also wrote a letter to the governor requesting him not to sign the ordinance.

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