Kerala governor threatens to remove ministers if their statements lower dignity of his office
But Arif Mohammed Khan does not have unilateral power to dismiss them from the state Cabinet, according to legal experts.
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Monday warned ministers that they can be removed from the posts if their statements lowered the dignity of his office.
A tweet from the governor’s handle read: “The CM [chief minister] and council of ministers have every right to advise [the] governor. But statements of individual ministers that lower the dignity of the office of the governor, can invite action including withdrawal of pleasure.”
The governor appoints state ministers on the recommendation of the chief minister and they can remain in office on his pleasure, according to Article 164 of the Indian Constitution. But, the governor does not have unilateral power to dismiss them from the state Cabinet, legal experts told The News Minute.
“The chief minister also has the power to reinstate that minister, since the governor has little say on the appointments to the Cabinet,” lawyer George Poonthottam told the news website. “His power is only in regard to the continuity of the minister’s term.”
The development came amid a tussle between the Khan and the Pinarayi Vijayan-led state government on the governor’s approval to legislations such as the Lok Ayukta and University Laws Amendment Bills as well as a matter relating to appointment to universities, reported PTI.
Several ministers have said that the governor is bound to act in accordance with the advice of the council of ministers and he cannot hold the Bills indefinitely without signing or sending them back.
On Monday, several state ministers, including Communist Party of India (Marxist) state Secretary MV Govindan, criticised Khan’s tweet, arguing that he does not have the power to remove ministers, reported PTI.
Leader of Opposition and Congress leader VD Satheesan along with Kerala Advocate General K Gopalakrishna Kurup were also of the same view.
“Provisions of the Constitution do not visualise any such power on the part of the governor,” Kurup said.
Some Left leaders and ministers have also alleged that Khan was creating a constitutional crisis in the state at the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to implement their policies in Kerala.
Meanwhile on October 15, Khan had withdrawn 15 nominees from the senate of Kerala University in his capacity as its chancellor, reported Deccan Herald. Khan had taken the decision as they did not attend senate meetings for proposing nominees for the next vice chancellor.