Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Wednesday said he will examine if there was any emergency for re-promulgating several LDF government ordinances which stand lapsed for want of his approval by August 8. Khan, speaking to reporters in Delhi, said that since the ordinances have come back to him again without being placed or tabled in the legislative assembly after he had signed them in February, he will have to apply his mind and see whether any emergency exists.
“If without placing it in the House, if an ordinance comes to me for a second time, I will have to apply my mind. I will have to see whether any emergency exists. I have to apply my mind and exercise my fair judgement and then only I can sign,” he said. “I have to see whether any emergency exists which justifies re-promulgation. For that I need to study it in detail. I cannot do that when the ordinances are placed before me on the day I am leaving for Delhi,” he added.
To queries that there were allegations he was playing politics, Khan responded that people are free to criticise him and he was not going to join issues with anyone. “When exercising my functions, I shall not be guided by anybody. I shall be guided only by my own judgement and conscience,” he said.
He further said that he was being asked to sign and re-promulgate ordinances when an assembly session was held after he last signed them. Khan, who is expected to arrive in Kerala later in the day, said the power to issue ordinances is to be used only when assembly is not in session, “it is not an absolute power”.
“Once I sign an ordinance, it has to be tabled before the House. Now after signing the ordinance, six months later I am being asked to re-promulgate it. In between, the session of assembly has already been held. Immediacy means there is no session being held,” he explained. On Tuesday, the ruling LDF in Kerala said it was not going to adopt a confrontational or adversarial approach in connection with several of the state government’s ordinances getting lapsed, at the end of the day on August 8, as the governor had not signed them owing to paucity of time to peruse them.
Among the ordinances that expired on August 8, the Kerala Lokayukta (Amendment) Ordinance was one which says the Governor, Chief Minister or the State government would be the competent authority and he or it 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 in February urged the Governor not to sign it.