Political stalemate in Kerala as Governor denies permission for special Assembly session against farm laws

There was friction between the Governor and the government earlier with the Governor terming the anti-CAA resolution as unconstitutional
Last Updated 22 December 2020, 19:23 IST

In an unprecedented move, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has denied permission for convening a special session of the state Assembly on Wednesday to discuss farm laws.

The CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front government was even planning to pass a resolution against the farm laws at the special session with the support of Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front.

While the Governor's stand led to a political stalemate in Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan sent a letter to the Governor maintaining that it was against the Constitution as the power to summon a session of the Assembly clearly falls outside the discretionary powers of the Governor. In the detailed letter, Vijayan also pointed out the relevant portions of the Constitution as well as various court judgments in this regard. He said that it was regrettable that a recommendation coming from an elected government, enjoying a clear majority in the Legislative Assembly, for discussing an emergent issue of national importance, has not been acceded to by the Governor, he said.

The Governor initially sought more clarifications on state Cabinet's recommendation for convening the special session and later denied permission citing that there was no urgent situation to convene a special session. The Cabinet on Monday recommended to the Governor to convene the special session.

It is learnt that the Governor took the decision to deny permission citing that he already gave nod to Cabinet's recommendation for convening a regular session of Assembly in January. The government also failed to give a satisfactory reply to explanation sought on the urgency involved in convening the special session to discuss farm laws as well as the steps taken by Kerala government so far to address the concerns of farmers.

Kerala Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar told reporters that Governor created an unprecedented political situation and there was politics involved in it. The Chief Minister, who was on Kerala Yatra (Kerala Tour), would reach Thiruvananthapuram by night and further steps would be decided, he said.

Congress, which is the key opposition party in Kerala, also flayed the Governor's decision as unconstitutional and alleged that he was protecting BJP's political interests. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala even suggested that the MLAs may meet at the member's lounge of the Assembly complex and pass a resolution against the farm laws.

Former Kerala legislature secretary Babu Prakash told DH that as per the Constitution the Governor was bound to accept Cabinet's recommendation to convene Assembly session as it did not come under Governor's discretionary powers.

(Published 22 December 2020, 15:46 IST)

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