Thiruvananthapuram: With a dozen Bills lying on his table here, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan told the media in Kottayam that he is not a rubber stamp and added that a person cannot sit in judgement in his own case.
He was responding to a report that has surfaced that the office of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sent 12 Bills, including the controversial Lokayukta, University Laws (Amendment) and others to the Governor’s official residence.
“I am not a rubber stamp. I have a duty to perform. I shall not allow the autonomy of the university to be affected with the government trying to take away the powers. Autonomy of the universities is a sacred subject. To appoint under qualified and unqualified candidates and relatives of the staff of Chief Minister and Ministers will not be allowed,” said Khan.
“With regards to the other Bill (Lok Ayukta), the basic principles of jurisprudence is that a person cannot judge his own case. It’s not possible. Democratically elected government does not mean that it can break the law. The rule of law shall be upheld and will not allow to be diluted,” said Khan.
The files were sent late Wednesday to the Governor, who is in Attappady and will return to the state capital on Saturday (September 17).
While 11 of the Bills might pass muster without an issue, all eyes are on the tweaked Lokayukta Bill.
Khan gave Vijayan the first jolt a few months back when he refused to ink the re-promulgation of 11 Ordinances forcing the Kerala government to call a special 10-day session for floating the Bills.
With Khan refusing to ink the Ordinances, the battle lines were drawn between Vijayan and the Governor. While Khan time and again addresses the media stating that he cannot be taken for granted, Vijayan continues to maintain a stoic silence.
With the previous Ordinances turning infructuous and the fresh tweaked Lokayukta Bill yet to be inked, trouble can mount for Vijayan as there is a case against him for mishandling the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund.
The trial in the case is over and the verdict is pending, so any adverse verdict could put Vijayan in major trouble. The then Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yedyiurappa had to resign from the chair after the Lokayukta gave a verdict indicting him.