Lok Ayukta act amendment: Governor refuses to sign ordinance, likely to seek legal advice

R Sreejith/Mathrubhumi News

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan has declared that he will not make a hasty decision on the Lok Ayukta act amendment ordinance. Following the protest from the opposition, the governor asserted that he will sign the ordinance only after examining all legal aspects of it.

It is learnt that the governor is likely to seek legal advice on the same. Hence, it is confirmed that the governor’s decision on the ordinance will be delayed.

The cabinet approved the Kerala Lok Ayukta act amendment ordinance on January 19. But so far, the governor didn’t give his approval to it. As the amendment triggered a controversy, the governor received many complaints from political parties including the opposition. Examining all these facts, the governor has vowed that a decision will be taken only after detailed scrutiny of the ordinance.

The governor who is heading to Lakshadweep on Thursday is likely to examine the ordinance next week.

Meanwhile, a delegation of the opposition UDF on Thursday met the governor at the Raj Bhavan here and submitted a memorandum requesting him not to give assent to the proposed ordinance amending the state Lok Ayukta Act by the Left government in Kerala. The front leaders, led by Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly V D Satheesan, appraised him about the concerns regarding the amendment and pointed out the legal aspects against it.

They also wanted the Governor to send the ordinance for the assent of the President of India even as the state Law Minister P Rajeev made it clear later that the presidential scrutiny was not needed in this connection. In the memorandum, Satheesan alleged that the justifications by the government to bring the amendment appeared to be "frivolous, politically driven, and in stark contravention of the established laws in this country."

"In this ordinance, the executive is openly proclaiming a statute that has been in effect for 22 years to be unconstitutional and is proposing an ordinance to change the provision. This is ultra vires and goes against the fundamental tenets of the Indian constitution," the UDF representation pointed out. With the legislative assembly session slated for next month, there seems to be no compelling reason to change the law, which has been in existence for over 22 years, it alleged.

(with PTI inputs)

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