Arif Mohammed Khan | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan would be placed in a tough spot when the controversial Lok Ayukta (Amendment) Bill to make the executive the appellate authority reaches Raj Bhavan for his approval. On Tuesday, after hours-long heated arguments between the ruling and opposition benches, the Kerala Assembly passed the bill.
However, it is rumoured that the Governor is unlikely to give his consent and would seek legal advice on the matter. The amendments brought into the bill come into effect only after it receives the final approval of the Governor.
The Governor had earlier approved an ordinance in February vesting the chief minister with the power to decide on the decision of the Lok Ayukta. The assessment is that there is inappropriateness in sending the new act to the President when an ordinance approved by the governor has been approved once. Further, Raj Bhavan is worried about recent amendments brought in by the government. Meanwhile, the Constitution does not prescribe a time limit for the Governor to take a decision.
As per the Kerala Lok Ayukta (Amendment) Ordinance, 2022, which was refused to be promulgated by Governor Arif Mohammed Khan recently, the state government could either accept or reject the declaration by the anti-corruption agency in the cases, finding those holding public office as guilty.
Where the competent authority is the Governor or the Chief Minister or the Government of Kerala, the declaration may either be accepted or rejected after giving an opportunity to be heard, the ordinance had said.
In other cases, the competent authority shall send a copy of such a report to the Government which may either accept or reject the declaration after giving an opportunity of being heard, it had added.