THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Hours after UDF leaders led by opposition leader VD Satheesan delivered a memorandum to Governor Arif Mohammed Khan urging him not to sign the state government order proposing amendments “frivolous” to the Kerala Lok Ayukta Act of 1999, and instead send it to the President, Law Minister P Rajeeve on Thursday denounced the decision of the Congress-led front.
The LDF government had not sought permission from the president when the law was changed in 2000, Rajeeve said, indicating the government was in no mood to bow to opposition pressure on the issue.
“Part 3 of the Lokpal Act of 2013 states that states are required to implement it. He says the rules of Lok Ayukta are under the jurisdiction of the states and they have every right to make changes to them,” he said. Refusing the opposition’s claims, Rajeeve said states can decide how they want their Lok Ayukta to be, as has been stipulated in the Lokpal law.
“Rules cannot replace constitutional provisions. And the provisions say there is no need to send an amending order to the president for approval,” he said. The opposition allegation is that the changes were rushed in as complaints against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Higher Education Minister R Bindu are pending before the Lok Ayukta.
“The LDF government has no right to claim that the Lok Ayukta law passed in the assembly is unconstitutional. None of the courts have declared Article 14 of the Lok Ayukta Law (which is in the process of being amended) to be unconstitutional,” Satheesan said. He said that in these 23 years, the Lok Ayukta has used Article 14 only once, to indict former Minister of Higher Education KT Jaleel for nepotism.
Congress Leaders Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala, Kerala Congress MP (Joseph) Mons Joseph, IUML Leader PMA Salam, RSP State Secretary AA Azeez, CMP State General Secretary CP John and Forward Bloc leader G Devarajan were part of the UDF delegation.