New Delhi: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan's predecessor and former Chief Justice P Sathasivam on Tuesday said the state government did not need the Governor’s permission to approach the Supreme Court on any issue.
Sathasivam was clear that the Chief Minister was not duty-bound to have informed the Governor before moving the SC, but said that “as a matter of courtesy” should apprise (the Governor) of all important issues.
The statement has come as Governor Khan has locked horns with the Pinayari Vijayan-led government after it moved the top court against the Citizenship Amendment Act, seeking to declare it violative of the principles of equality, freedom and secularism enshrined in the Constitution.
Khan has repeatedly criticised the Left government for approaching the court against the CAA without informing him. After seeking a report from the government, he said on Monday that he was not satisfied by the explanation offered by the chief secretary.
Sathasivam, while speaking to reporters, said the Governor had the right to seek a report or clarification on any issue from the state government, and added that he can ask for the clarification “till he is satisfied”. After being informed that Khan has said he is not satisfied, the former CJI only offered a smile.
He also asserted that there was nothing unconstitutional in a state Assembly passing a resolution against a Central Act, as Governor Khan had claimed after Kerala’s did in this case against the CAA. “A state legislature has the right to express its views,” he said.
But to maintain cordial relations, he also advised that the law minister or the chief secretary can tell the Governor why the state is moving the court and what were the clauses in the law that the state had found improper and were in disagreement with.
“This should, as a matter of courtesy, happen in all sensational and important issues,” he told news portal Manorama Online.
The former Chief Justice also highlighted the difference in how he conducted himself as the Governor compared to the situation today. “If I had something to tell the Chief Minister, the Governor's office will formally intimate the Chief Minister's Office. And if the Governor had anything to tell the press, especially in his role as Chancellor, the Governor's office will issue a press release,” he said.