Kochi: The state government sought legal advice on curtailing the powers of Lok Ayukta after the quasi-judicial body issued a verdict against former minister KT Jaleel for 'illegally appointing' his second cousin as general manager with the Kerala State Minorities Finance Development Corporation.
Following his resignation, the then Advocate General CP Sudhakara Prasad gave legal advice to the government. At that point, the Advocate General's office examined in detail the powers of Lok Ayukta. Based on the legal advice, the state government decided to issue the controversial ordinance.
The legal advice pointed out that Section 14 of the Lok Ayukta Act was unconstitutional. If an order is issued under this section, the minister cannot continue in the position. This power stands over Article 164 of the Indian Constitution.
According to Article 164, “The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister, and the Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor”. But if the Lok Ayukta issues an order under Section 14, the minister is bound to step down from his post.
Lok Ayukta Acts in states including Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Bihar and Maharashtra were also cited as an example to prove this claim.