Thiruvananthapuram: A furious Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan yesterday locked horns with the Pinarayi Vijayan government over the State’s move to challenge the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA in the Supreme Court.
“Common courtesy demanded that prior permission should have been taken from me,” fumed the governor and said state government’s move was a “breach of protocol”. “I’m not saying that what they did is wrong. They may have every right to approach the Supreme Court. But the common courtesy demanded that prior permission (should have been) taken from me… at least I should have been kept in the loop. I came to know of the move only through newspapers,” he told reporters.
Khan said he will “check if the state government can do this without permission from the governor. Moreover, how can a state government challenge a law passed by the parliament,” he wondered.
Soon after, Pinarayi gave it back reminding the Governor that the era of princely states has come to an end. “These states had a resident above them. We are in a democratic country. Let people know about this,” the CM said at a public meeting without taking the Governor’s name.
The ruling CPM too reacted saying the Governor was “violating democratic traditions and constitutional provisions” by making such remarks. “The relationship between centre and a state is not that if a master and servant… it is based on the constitution. Each constituent has been given specific powers. He (Governor) should act only on the basis of the constitution and the precedence,” CPM leader S Ramachnadran Pillai said.
But in a tit-for-tat, the Governor has withheld signing an ordinance promulgated by the state assembly on the demarcation of wards for local body polls. He has returned the ordinance seeking more clarifications. This move will delay the local body polls in Kerala.
In its petition before the Supreme Court, the Kerala Government has called the CAA a violation of several articles of the constitution including the right to equality. The law goes against the basic principle of secularism in the constitution, it said in its petition.
The state government has also challenged the validity of changes made in 2015 to the Passport law and the Foreigners (Amendment) Order, regularising the stay of non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who had entered India before 2015.