Kerala Governor levels conflict-of-interest charge against ex SC Judge Rohinton Nariman

In December 2023, Justice Rohinton Nariman had expressed concern over governors “sitting on Bills” sent by state governments especially in states with non-BJP parties in power.
Governor Arif Mohammed Khan
Governor Arif Mohammed KhanThe New Indian Express
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Amid his ongoing tussle with the Kerala government, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has levelled a conflict-of-interest allegation against former Supreme Court Justice Rohinton Nariman stating that his father Fali Sam Nariman and his junior associates received Rs 40 lakh from the Kerala government solely for legal opinion and not for appearing in court. Reading out a document, which the Governor said was issued by the state government, he further said, “The father is receiving money while the son is giving opinions blasting the governor. Is this even consistent with the principles of natural justice?”

Speaking at an education conclave in Tamil Nadu’s Chennai, the governor was responding to a question based on Rohinton Nariman’s comment in December, 2023. The former judge had criticised Governor Arif Mohammed Khan stating that "a Governor of a traditionally minority government state, Kerala, sitting over bills for periods of up to 23 months. When the Supreme Court rapped him on his knuckles, what did he do? There were eight such bills. One bill was assented to and seven were referred to the President.”

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, on Wednesday, said. “The judge’s whole anger was directed at me. He repeatedly referred to the ‘Governor of Kerala’, while ignoring governors of Punjab and Tamil Nadu, who have similar cases pending against them.”

Responding to the governor, Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP John Brittas told The Wire, “The governor of Kerala had the audacity to accuse a jurist like Nariman of taking 30 lakhs to ensure that his son gives a different opinion in support of the Kerala government. Politics has reached such a level. You need to take back politics from this trash. A constitutional functionary, talking such nonsense in a very important summit.”

The governor said the purpose of the bills (sent to him for assent) was to remove him as chancellor and give authority to the government to appoint chancellors. In my opinion, these are money bills, he added. 

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