Legal experts hold contradictory views over Kerala Governor's decision on ordinances

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Photo: Sabu Scariachen/ Mathrubhumi

Kochi: Legal experts hold contradictory views on Governor Arif Mohammad Khan's decision to refrain from signing the extension of 11 ordinances.

While some reasoned that the governor could not take such drastic decisions due to the limited power enshrined in the constitution, others questioned the state government's decision to issue multiple ordinances and agreed with the governor's judgement.

Kerala government has rolled out 142 ordinances in 2021, which is an unusual practice. "Ordinances are rolled out in extraordinary situations. As per the constitution, ordinance has to be tabled in the next assembly sitting as a bill. Even a 1987 Supreme Court verdict had pointed out that promulgation of ordinances is a fraud on the constitution and a subversion of democratic legislative processes," said senior advocate George Poonthottam.

He pointed out that in the 2017 case, the Supreme Court had said that the failure to convert an ordinance into a bill when the state legislature convenes is a failure on the part of those holding powers.

However, former director-general of prosecution T Asif Ali said that the Governor does not have the right to refuse the signing of an ordinance. He added that the Governor only holds discretionary power to dissolve a cabinet, prosecute ministers, and appoint a vice-chancellor. Apart from that, all other actions of the Governor should be based on the recommendations of the state government, he added.

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