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Kerala Guv says 'no' to special assembly session for passing resolution against Central farm laws

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan declined approval for a special assembly session planned on Wednesday by the Left front government to discuss and pass a resolution against the three contentious central farm laws, against which farmers have been protesting near Delhi. Reacting to the decision, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said it was "regrettable".

Kerala Guv says no to special assembly session for passing resolution against Central farm laws
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan


"It is regrettable that a recommendation coming from an elected government, enjoying clear majority in the legislative assembly for discussing an emergent issue of national importance, has not been acceded by the Hon'ble Governor, especially when the power to summon a session of the assembly clearly falls outside the discretionary power of the governor," Vijayan said in a letter to Khan tonight. 

He also pointed that the assembly under its Rules framed in accordance with the Article 208 of the Constitution is competent to discuss issues of general public interest. 

Summoning and proroguing sessions of the state assembly has to be in accordance with the advice of council of ministers, Vijayan said, adding that the present decision "of your good self runs counter to our constitutional scheme". 

"It was proposed to summon assembly to discuss an emergent issue of public interest concerning the State. 

Here, discretionary power cannot be exercised by the Governor. The checks and balances determine the powers and duties of constitutional authorities. 

Abiding by them is the essential prerequisite for a smooth functioning of the constitutional Governance system," Vijayan said. 

The cabinet had on December 21 decided to recommend to the Governor to convene the assembly on December 23, following which Khan had raised some queries. 

Replies had been given promptly, the chief minister stated. However, the state's plea was rejected by the Governor. 

Agricultural Minister V S Sunil Kumar termed the action as ''undemocratic'', while opposition Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said it was unfortunate and against "democratic values". 

Union minister, K Muraleedharan and the state BJP welcomed the Governor's action, saying the attempt to pass a resolution against the laws passed by Parliament and given assent by the President was unconstitutional. 

"Welcome the Hon'ble @KeralaGovernor 's decision to not let the floor of Kerala Assembly be used for a cheap political stunt by @CPIMKerala & @VijayanPinarayi. 

Thank the Hon'ble @KeralaGovernor for upholding the spirit of the Constitution," Muraleedharan tweeted. 

Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan said the Governor's decision was unprecedented and added the state government can take a decision after considering all legal aspects. 

The session would not be held on Wednesday since the Governor did not accord sanction, assembly sources told PTI. 

While Vijayan''s office had said the session was proposed to discuss the agricultural acts against which farmers have heldcountry-wide agitations, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac in atweet had said Kerala was in "total solidarity" with thefarmers'' struggle and the session would discuss and ''reject''the laws. 

After the government forwarded the decision to convene the session, Khan sought a clarification on the urgency for it and the Chief Minister had replied to him, sources said. 

Incidentally, a regular session of the assembly has already been planned from January 8 and it was likely to continue till January 28. 

The government had in December last year convened a similar special session of the assembly which passed a resolution demanding scrapping of the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act, becoming the first state in the country to take such a measure then. 

Chennithala said the voice of Kerala against the farm laws, whose repeal is being demanded by the farmers protesting at the borders of Delhi for nearly a month, should be raised in the assembly. 

However, the decision of the governor, citing technical reason that there was no urgency for convening the special session, was against democratic values, the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly said in a statement. 

Countrywide agitations were taking place against the farm laws which affect the farmers of Kerala also, he claimed, adding it was due to this the opposition decided to support the state government decision to convene the special session, discuss and pass a resolution against the three central laws. 

He also said even if the governor had not accorded sanction for the session, all MLAs can gather at a hall inside the assembly complex and pass the resolution. 

The special session decision was taken in the backdrop of thousands of farmers, especially from Punjab and Haryana, camping at various borders of Delhi for almost four weeks demanding the repeal of the three agricultural laws. 

The farmers are apprehending that the new laws will pave the way for a dismantling of the Minimum Support Price (MSP)mechanism and the mandi system, leaving them to the "mercy" of big corporates. 

But the government has been saying these fears are misplaced and offered to hold fresh talks with them to resolve the crisis. 

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