Kerala to skip Governor’s policy address in budget session | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Kerala to skip Governor’s policy address in budget session

By, Thiruvananthapuram
Dec 14, 2022 11:56 PM IST

It is custom for the Governor to make an address at the start of each year’s assembly session. Since the seventh session was adjourned sine die, the Speaker can convene it again after giving 10-day notice to legislators.

The Kerala government has decided to skip the Governor’s address in the inaugural assembly session of 2023, officials familiar with the matter said. The move was effected after the seventh session of the Kerala Assembly was adjourned sine die on Tuesday.

The move comes amid ongoing tension between Governor Mohammad Arif Khan and the state government. (ANI)
The move comes amid ongoing tension between Governor Mohammad Arif Khan and the state government. (ANI)

It is custom for the Governor to make an address at the start of each year’s assembly session. Since the seventh session was adjourned sine die, the Speaker can convene it again after giving 10-day notice to legislators.

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“The seventh session of the assembly was adjourned sine die on Tuesday, not prorogued, and the budget session will be treated as a continuation,” said a senior official aware of the development.

The move comes amid ongoing tension between Governor Mohammad Arif Khan and the state government. While Khan has continually attacked the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government for alleged irregularities in appointments to the state’s varsities, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which leads the ruling alliance, has attacked the governor over alleged attempts to saffronise higher education in the state.

On Tuesday, the assembly passed a Bill to remove Governor Khan as chancellor of universities and appoint eminent personalities to the post. The Opposition parties had boycotted the session.

Experts, however, said the government can only postpone the Governor’s address but can’t do away with it.

“Article 176 of the Constitution says the commencement of the first session of each year shall begin with the address of the Governor. If they skip him now, they will have to call him when the session is convened next time,” said constitutional expert and former secretary general of Lok Sabha P D T Achary.

As per precedent, the Speaker must inform the Governor about the end of the session, but this time it did not happen so as to facilitate the former to re-convene it. But when the government convenes the next session, the Governor has to be present and technically, that will be considered as the first session of the year, said Achary.

The policy address is usually meant to showcase the government’s one-year plan and its activities. But there have been several instances where Governors have skipped critical paragraphs about the Union government or other functionaries.

In 2019, during his maiden address to the assembly, Khan had openly expressed his displeasure towards paragraphs critical of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). He also criticised the assembly’s unanimous resolution against the CAA. Kerala was the first state to adopt the resolution.

Opposition Congress had boycotted the session after its suggestion to include retired HC and SC judges in selection panel for chancellors was shot down.

“The appointment of Marxist leaders as chancellors as dangerous as saffronisation of the higher education sector,” said opposition leader V D Satheesan on Wednesday.

However, CPI(M) state secretary M V Govindan retorted that the Governor was using every opportunity to weaken the government. “We will not allow saffronisation of varsities. The new move will strengthen the higher education sector,” he said.

The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hit back saying the government was insulting constitutional positions and trying to run the state as a separate entity.

“The Governor was insulted repeatedly for talking against nepotism and appointment of under-qualified and unqualified people in high positions in varsities. The latest move to remove him from chancellor post is aimed at turning varsities as Marxist nurseries,” said Minister of State External Affairs V Muraleedharan.

The Raj Bhawan did not comment of the session adjournment.

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