Ker Guv says CM did not address question on need for special assembly session

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Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 23 (PTI) Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Wednesday defended his decision declining sanction for a special assembly session over the central farm laws, saying Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan did not address the question raised by him on the nature of emergency warranting the very brief session.

In his reply to Vijayan who had said the decision of the governor ran 'counter to our constitutional scheme', Khan also said it was the Constitutional duty of the Chief Minister to keep him fully informed about the government's decisions.

The governor said he had approved the December 17 cabinet decision to convene the assembly for a session from January 8 only on December 21 and sent back the file in the forenoon and he received the note on the special session in the afternoon.

Khan said he and wondered if something unforeseen or unexpected had happened between December 17 and December 21.

'I did not refuse to accede to your request. I merely raised some questions and hoped that you would respond with full information to satisfy me that some unforeseen things have happened and show what you propose to do to deal with this unexpected situation.

'But instead of replying to my questions, you have chosen to bring in extraneous issues which I had not raised at any stage,' the Governor said in the letter, giving reasons for him turning down the proposal of the CPI-M led LDF government to convene the one-day session.

The special session was to be held on Wednesday morning and the LDF and opposition Congress-led UDF had decided to discuss the and pass a resolution against the recently passed laws, against which thousands of farmers are protesting at the borders of Delhi for over a month.

Vijayan had on Tuesday night shot-off a letter to Khan, terming his decision as regrettable and asserting that he was bound by the advice of the Council of Ministers and that moving resolutions and conducting discussions in the assembly 'cannot be regulated by gubernatorial powers'.

The power to summon a session of the legislative assembly clearly falls outside the discretionary power of the governor, he had said.

In his response, Khan said: 'You will agree that as Chief Minister it is your constitutional duty to keep the Governor fully informed about the decisions of the government and it is my right to be consulted and to counsel the government.

'But somehow you give information when I raise questions, otherwise, you take shelter behind vague terms, like in the current case, 'to discuss some serious issues', he said.

The Governor said it was only after he sought the reason for summoning the assemblyemergently, did the chief minister 'open up partially' and 'admitted' that the important issue was the 'ongoing protest by farmers' around Delhi.

'It became clear that you wanted this special session to discuss a problem for which you have no jurisdiction to offer any solution', he said.

As far as the farmers' protest is concerned, it is going on in Punjab, Haryana and some parts of Uttar Pradesh since June and even the protest in Delhi was now a month old, he said.

The Governor also expressed his displeasure and said he was 'pained' that the contents of the letter sent by the chief minister, marked as confidential, were available with the media even before it reached him.

Khan saidas far as the question of summoning the Assembly under rule 3(2) of Rules of procedure and conduct of business in the House is concerned, he agreed that the Governor was bound by the decisionof the Cabinet.

In the last more than one year, he had always acted accordingly in giving his approval for summoning of the sessions of the assembly, the Governor said.

However, when a recommendation is made to summon a session at short notice, that means departure from the rule requiring 15 days notice and invokingthe provisio to rule 3, which is an exception to the rule, then it becomes duty of the gubernatorial office to ensure that departure from rule does not result in departure from the spirit of the rules of conduct of business, he said.

Seeking to make it clear that he had not gone beyond his powers, Khan pointed that he had held back the file regarding the Ordinance amending the Police act for three weeks hoping it would be reconsidered. But finally, he gave his assent and following a public outcry, it had to be withdrawn within a week.

Similarly, with regard to the Ordinance for the reorganisation and delimitation of local body, the governor said he had refused to give his nod.

'You went to the assembly and got the Bill passed and despite the fact one of your ministers had expressed apprehension whether it will get the nod from the Governor.

'I immediately signed it and it became a law. But it was not implemented and an old law was brought back through an ordinance which the governor signed,' he added.

Noting that he would not like to be at loggerheads with the Chief Minister or 'my own government', Khan said 'We may differ on certain issues but ultimately our goal is same; To serve our Motherland that is Bharat.

I hope despite some differences of opinion, we shall always respect each other and never doubt the intentions of each other.