Kerala govt seeks powers for states to remove Governor

Published on Feb 21, 2022 12:16 AM IST

The state submitted this recommendation to the central government-appointed Punchhi commission, set up to look into measures to improve the centre-state relations.

The latest initiative assumes significance in the light of the tussle between the Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government. (ANI)
The latest initiative assumes significance in the light of the tussle between the Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government. (ANI)
By, Thiruvananthapuram

Amid a rift with Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, the state government has put forward recommendation before the Centre seeking powers for the states to remove the Governor “in case of a violation of the Constitution, lapses in the duty of the Chancellor or in taking criminal prosecution procedures”.

The state submitted this recommendation to the central government-appointed Punchhi commission, set up to look into measures to improve the centre-state relations. The Union government had constituted the commission in 2007, under the former Chief Justice of India Justice Madan Mohan Punchhi (Retd.). The commission made 273 recommendations in 2010, and later sought the opinion of states. These recommendations have been updated from time to time.

State law secretary V. Hari Nair formulated these recommendations, which were accepted by the cabinet on Wednesday.

“If the Governor is sabotaging the interest of the state and working against the elected government there should be provisions to recall him,” the state government said in the recommendation letter, a copy of which is with HT.

The state further said that before appointing the governor, it needs to be consulted by the Union government. It also recommended a time frame for the governor to sign a bill or ordinance to avoid inordinate delay and favoured that the governor should not be made the chancellor of state-run universities.

The latest initiative assumes significance in the light of the tussle between the Governor and the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government.

Last week, Governor Khan had refused to sign the annual policy document but relented later after his two suggestions were met by the government.

General administration principal secretary K R Jyotilal, who had sent a “blunt” letter to the Governor on behalf of the government on Thursday was transferred to the public works department. The government also agreed to look into the practice of shuffling of the personal staff of ministers after every two years. Khan had termed it “loot” and sought all files regarding such appointments.

“This is nothing but loot. How can the state fund political activists like this? You can’t recruit party cadres like this. I was told some ministers have 20-25 personal staff and they will be shifted after two years to engage a fresh batch and both will enjoy all privileges. This is illegal and unconstitutional,” the Governor had said in Delhi.

Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Sunday said there is no plan to withdraw the pension of the personal staff of ministers.

“It is not a recent phenomenon. This has been going on for quite some time and we have no plan to discontinue it either,” he said in Thiruvananthapuram. It is estimated that 8 crores are drawn from the state exchequer to meet the pension of the personal staff, besides expenditure of present ones.

Reacting to the row, Congress leader K Muraleedharan said the government surrendered before Khan. “He is behaving like an ordinary party functionary and reacts to all developments in the state. The government absolutely surrendered before him by meeting all his demands,” he said in Thiruvananthapuram.

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