Eleven ordinances expire in Kerala as Governor delays approval

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan said that he received the ordinances only as he was leaving for Delhi, and that he would not approve them without ‘applying his mind’.
Arif Mohammed Khan
Arif Mohammed Khan
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Several ordinances, including the Kerala Lokayukta (Amendment) Ordinance, issued by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government lapsed on Tuesday, August 8, as Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan had not signed them owing to paucity of time to go through them. The Governor has not signed the ordinances which were to expire on August 8 and hence, they have lapsed. The governor, who was in Delhi on Monday and is scheduled to return to Kerala only on Wednesday, had told reporters that he will not sign the ordinances without applying his mind, and for that he needs time.

The Governor had claimed that the files of the ordinances were sent to him on the day he was going to travel to the national capital for a meeting of the 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' committee and therefore, did not have the time to go through all of them. He had also said that ruling through ordinances "is not desirable in a democracy" and that he was not going to approve their re-promulgation without going through the ordinances. "I need time to go through them. I have to apply my mind. Do you want me to sign them without applying my mind? We must uphold the spirit of democracy and ruling through ordinances is not something which is desirable in a democracy," he said.

"During certain emergencies, you can bring in an ordinance. Thereafter, it has to be ratified in the Assembly session. It cannot happen that you continue promulgating the ordinance again and again. Why is there a Legislative Assembly if you are going to rule through ordinances," he had said. In the instant case there is no explanation why such emergency measures should continue, he added.

On the other hand, Kerala Law Minister P Rajeeve on Monday afternoon had said that the Governor has not refused to sign the ordinances, and that the day was not over yet. The minister had said that in the last two Assembly sessions, the Budget and Financial Bill were the matters taken up. Rajeeve had also said that even the Left government was against 'ordinance raj' and that it had every intention to convene a session for ratifying the ordinances. "There is still time," he had said in response to reporters' queries regarding the ordinances set to expire at the end of the day.

Among the ordinances that expired on August 8, the Kerala Lokayukta (Amendment) Ordinance was one which provided that the Governor, Chief Minister or the state government would be the competent authority, and he or she may either accept or reject the declaration by the Lokayukta, after giving an opportunity of being heard.

The Congress-led UDF opposition was against the ordinance and had back in February urged the Governor not to sign it.

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