President Withholds Assent To University Bills, Approves Kerala Lok Ayukta Amendment Bill

President Withholds Assent To University Bills, Approves Kerala Lok Ayukta Amendment Bill

The Raj Bhavan in a statement on Thursday said that the President has withheld assent to the Kerala University Laws (Amendment No.2) Bill 2022, which aims to replace the Governor from the position of Chancellor of Universities.

PTIUpdated: Thursday, February 29, 2024, 07:08 PM IST
article-image
President of India Droupadi Murmu | Representative Image

President Droupadi Murmu has withheld assent to the three University laws bills referred to her by Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, but approved the Kerala Lok Ayukta Bill passed by the state assembly.
The Raj Bhavan in a statement on Thursday said that the President has withheld assent to the Kerala University Laws (Amendment No.2) Bill 2022, which aims to replace the Governor from the position of Chancellor of Universities.
Besides that, the University Law Amendment Bill, 2022 that aims to increase the members in the Search Committee for the appointment of the Vice Chancellor and the University Law Amendment Bill, 2021 which deals with the Appellate Tribunal issue and other amendments to Technological University, were also denied Presidential assent, it said.
The statement further said that of the seven bills referred to the President by the Governor, "assent has been accorded to only one Bill, namely, the Kerala Lok Ayukta Amendment Bill, 2022".
The Kerala Assembly had on August 30, 2022 passed the Lok Ayukta (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to make the executive the appellate authority over recommendations and reports by the anti-corruption watchdog.
Khan had in November last year reserved seven bills, including the controversial University Amendment Bills and the Kerala Lok Ayukta Bill, for presidential assent.
The move came in the wake of the Kerala government moving the Supreme Court alleging inordinate delay by Khan in clearing legislation.
While hearing the government's plea, the Supreme Court had asked the Kerala Governor's additional chief secretary to refer to its recent verdict in Punjab's case, where it had held that governors cannot "thwart the normal course of lawmaking".


While deciding on the Punjab government's plea against Governor Banwarilal Purohit, the top court had held that governors cannot take the liberty to keep bills pending indefinitely without any action.
The verdict had said if the governor decides to withhold assent to a bill, then he has to return the bill to the legislature for reconsideration.
Khan had kept the University bills pending and then referred them to the President as he was of the view that the state government was trying to interfere with the autonomy of the universities in the state.
The row between the Governor and the state government over the functioning of the universities also saw Khan facing intense protests from the ruling CPI(M)'s student wing SFI.
The Raj Bhavan statement comes in the wake of state Law Minister P Rajeev's comment earlier in the day that the President's approval of the Kerala Lok Ayukta Amendment Bill of 2022 indicates that the Governor's stand on the matter was wrong.
Rajeev said that when the Lokpal Bill was being discussed in the Parliament, a decision was taken that the states have the power to frame a similar law and therefore, there was nothing wrong in the manner in which the amendments were made to the Kerala Lok Ayukta Act.
He said that when the Governor had sought a clarification regarding the bill, it was read out to him and therefore, he ought to have signed it back then.
"There was no need to send it to the President for assent. Now the Presidential assent indicates that the Governor's stand was wrong," the minister said.
On the other hand, the Congress-led UDF opposition said the Presidential assent to the Lok Ayukta Bill indicates a compromise between the CPI(M) and the Sangh Parivar as well as a brotherly relationship between the state and the central governments.
Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan said that with the approval of the Bill, the anti-corruption system in the state has been thrown into disarray.
The opposition had termed the passing of the Kerala Lok Ayukta Bill as a "black day" in the history of the state Assembly.
The CPI(M)-led LDF government had, on the other hand, contended that the amendment was made to bring the state Lok Ayukta Act in accordance with the Centre's Lokpal Act.
As per the bill, the state Assembly will be the competent authority to take decision on the Lok Ayukta's findings against the Chief Minister.
During the tenure of the previous LDF government, the then Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel had to resign from the cabinet, days after the state Lok Ayukta's finding that he had abused his position as a public servant to favour a relative.

RECENT STORIES

IPU CET 2024 Registration Window To Close Today; Exam From April 27

IPU CET 2024 Registration Window To Close Today; Exam From April 27

West Bengal NMMS Results 2023-24 Declared For Class 8; Click Here For More Details

West Bengal NMMS Results 2023-24 Declared For Class 8; Click Here For More Details

First-Year IIT Student's Post Claims No "Golden Gateway To Supreme Education"; Goes Viral

First-Year IIT Student's Post Claims No

CISCE 2024 Results For Classes 10 And 12 Expected To Be Out Soon; Check Steps To View Yours

CISCE 2024 Results For Classes 10 And 12 Expected To Be Out Soon; Check Steps To View Yours

MP Board Class 10 And 12 Results To Be Announced Soon; Check Details Here

MP Board Class 10 And 12 Results To Be Announced Soon; Check Details Here