Kerala Governor clears ordinance to curb Lokayukta’s powers

Amendment to the Lokayukta Act would empower the government to reject the report of the anti-corruption ombudsman  

Arif Mohammad Khan

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Monday (February 7) approved the ordinance put forth by the Pinarayi Vijayan government to curb the powers of the Lokayukta.

Khan signed the ordinance a day after Vijayan appraised him of the circumstances that pushed the government to amend the Lokayukta Act in the state.

Amendment to the Lokayukta Act would empower the government to reject the report of the anti-corruption ombudsman.

Sources from the governor’s office confirmed that Khan has signed the ordinance.
The opposition Congress has been urging the governor not to sign the ordinance saying the CPI(M)-led dispensation was trying to promulgate it at a time when complaints of several irregularities of the government were pending.

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Reports say when the governor informed the chief minister about the petition submitted by the Opposition to him, the latter explained that Section 14 of the Lokyukta Act was against Articles 163 and Article 164 of the Constitution and that the Lokayukta transgresses upon the rights of the Cabinet.

The meeting on Sunday was a first-of-its-kind in recent times between the chief minister and the governor after a row had erupted over the differences between the government and the Raj Bhavan on the alleged political interference in the functioning of the universities.
In December last year, the governor wrote a letter to the chief minister urging the latter to remove him from the post of the chancellor of universities, and take over.
The chief minister is also learnt to have briefed the governor about his visit overseas. Vijayan went to the UAE last week after his two-week long medical treatment in the United States.
He returned to the state on Sunday.

(With inputs from agencies)

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