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Presidential nod to Lokayukta Bill indicates Kerala Governor's stand wrong: Minister Rajeev

His reaction comes in the wake of media reports that the President approved the amended Bill.
Last Updated 29 February 2024, 06:19 IST

Thiruvananthapuram: President Droupadi Murmu's assent to the Kerala Lok Ayukta Bill, passed by the assembly in August 2022, indicates that the Governor Arif Mohammed Khan's stand on the matter was wrong, state Law Minister P Rajeev said on Thursday.

His reaction comes in the wake of media reports that the President approved the amended Bill.

Rajeev said that when the Lokpal Bill was being discussed in the Parliament, a decision was taken that the states have the power to frame a similar law and therefore, there was nothing wrong in the manner in which the amendments were made to the Kerala Lok Ayukta Act.

He said that when the Governor had sought a clarification regarding the bill, it was read out to him and therefore, he ought to have signed it back then.

"There was no need to send it to the President for assent. Now the Presidential assent indicates that the Governor's stand was wrong," the minister said.

Khan had in November last year reserved seven bills, including the controversial University Amendment Bill and the Kerala Lok Ayukta Bill, for presidential assent.

The move came in the wake of the Kerala government moving the Supreme Court accusing Khan of not granting assent to several bills cleared by the state assembly.

Despite stiff opposition raised by the UDF members and their subsequent boycott, the Kerala Assembly had on August 30, 2022 passed the Lok Ayukta (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to make the executive the appellate authority over recommendations and reports by the anti-corruption watchdog.

The opposition had termed it as a 'black day' in the history of the state Assembly.

The CPI(M)-led LDF government had, on the other hand, contended that the amendment was made to bring the state Lok Ayukta Act in accordance with the Centre's Lokpal Act.

As per the bill, the state Assembly will be the competent authority to take decision on the Lok Ayukta's findings against the Chief Minister.

During the tenure of the previous LDF government, the then Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel had to resign from the cabinet, days after the state Lok Ayukta's finding that he had abused his position as a public servant to favour a relative.

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(Published 29 February 2024, 06:19 IST)

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