The Opposition United Democratic Front in Kerala on Saturday sought the Assembly Speaker’s permission to introduce a resolution urging the president to recall Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, reported PTI. While the state government has challenged the Citizenship Amendment Act in the Supreme Court and passed a resolution demanding its withdrawal, Khan has always maintained that a central Act has to be implemented by all states.
Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala alleged that Khan had violated all democratic principles by “publicly questioning” the pride of the legislature. “Even the single member of the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] in the Kerala Assembly did not cast his vote against the resolution passed by the Assembly against the CAA,” he said, according to The Hindu. “But, the governor has made public statements saying it was unconstitutional.”
Khan, however, refused to comment on Chennithala’s move. “I don’t think this kind of thing deserves any comment,” he told ANI. “Before opening my mouth, I read the Constitution and law to become aware of role and duties conferred upon me.”
But Khan welcomed the Opposition’s move against him. “Everyone is entitled to their opinion,” he told journalists. “I am the constitutional head of the state. It’s my duty to advice, counsel, encourage and warn the government. It’s part of my duty as per the Constitution and as interpreted by the Supreme Court also.”
The Kerala government filed a plea against the citizenship law in the Supreme Court on January 14. In December, the Kerala Assembly had passed a resolution demanding the withdrawal of the Citizenship Amendment Act. It was the first state to make both the moves.
Khan had expressed displeasure at the government’s decision to approach the top court without consulting him. On January 20, he refused to accept the state government’s rationale for challenging the new law in the top court. “It is neither clash of ego nor personal differences,” the governor added. “My request is, as citizens of a country where we have democracy and rule of law, our duty is to abide by Constitution and law.” The governor said the state’s decision to approach the Supreme Court without informing him was a violation of the law. “I will not allow constitutional establishment to collapse in the state,” he added.
Khan had publicly declared the unanimous resolution of the Kerala Assembly as “illegal and against the Constitution”.
“The Assembly has every right to pass an opinion on any Central legislation,” said Chennithala. “The House is emblematic of the collective will of the people. Khan should have communicated his dissent in writing to the Assembly. It was unbecoming of the governor to stand in front of a mike and belittle the House.”
Khan claimed he had no problem with the government. “There may be some difference of opinion but it cannot be termed as confrontation,” he added. He, however, said that the state’s move to approach the Supreme Court without informing him was not right.