Win-win for Kerala guv Khan and CM Vijayan as Prez grants assent to Lok Ayukta Bill, withholds on three

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan had referred seven bills to Prez

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan with Governor Arif Mohammed Khan (File) Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan with Governor Arif Mohammed Khan | Manoj Chemancheri

It's a win-win situation as President Droupadi Murmu on Thursday granted assent to the Lok Ayukta Bill while withholding assent on three key bills related to administration in Kerala universities. A release from Raj Bhavan said decision is awaited on three other bills referred to the president.

After the Pinarayi Vijayan government approached the Supreme Court against Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, accusing him of deliberately delaying assent to bills passed by the Assembly, Khan referred them to President Droupadi Murmu. Among them are Bills removing the governor from the Chancellor post of universities and a bill allegedly diluting the powers of state Lokayukta. 

The Raj Bhavan in a statement said, “Altogether, seven Bills had been referred to Honourable President in November 2023. Of these, assent has been accorded to only one Bill, namely, Kerala Lok Ayukta Amendment Bill, 2022. Decision on other three Bills is awaited.”

While granting assent to Lok Ayukta Bill, the President withheld decision on “Kerala University Laws [Amendment No.2] [Divesting Governor from the position of Chancellor of Universities] Bill, 2022, University Law Amendment Bill, 2022 [Expansion of Search Committee for the Appointment of Vice chancellor], The University Law Amendment Bill, 2021 [Appellate Tribunal issue and other amendments to Technological University and others],” it said.

The Raj Bhavan statement comes after Law Minister P. Rajeeve told presspersons that the President's decision proves that the governor was wrong. “The President has given the direction to the Governor to give assent to the Lokayukta Bill passed by the legislative assembly. This could have been done by the Governor a few months back when the bill was passed by the legislature as all the provisions were per the Lokpal but it didn't happen. Now, this is the victory of the Assembly and the Constitution,” Rajeeve said.

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