Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Thursday indicated that the State government had crossed a line by keeping him in the dark about its decision to appeal the new citizenship law in the Supreme Court.
Upping the ante in his politically volatile dispute with the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government over the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) enacted by the Parliament, Mr. Khan said he would examine whether a State could move the Supreme Court against a Central law without the approval of the Governor.
Mr. Khan expressed dismay that he had to learn about the development through newspapers and reporters who met him at the airport on his way to New Delhi.
I do not dispute the right of the government or any entity or individual to appeal against the law in the Supreme Court. The government need not have taken my approval. But courtesy demanded that they at least kept me informed about the measure as the constitutional head of State, he said.
Mr. Khan, who had faced street protests, black flag demonstrations and heckling at public functions for his support of the CAA, warned that nobody could be a law unto oneself.
This is improper. It is a breach of courtesy and protocol. Nobody is above the law and constitution. Nobody can be allowed to blow up law enforcement, he said.
The rules of the Assembly states that the Legislature shall not discuss any subject, which does not come under their constitutional jurisdiction.
However, the Kerala government has challenged the constitutional validity of the Central law in a subject which was not under its jurisdiction. There was no doubt that the government had transgressed and gone out of its jurisdiction, he said.
Some people think they are above the law. If somebody has such a notion in their mind, let them get rid of it. This will not be allowed. This will not happen, he said.
Kerala Law Minister A. K. Balan attempted to play down the issue. He said the government had no dispute with the Governor. Mr. Balan said some quarters had conspired to create such an impression.