New Delhi: The Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government was pressuring him to sign papers that were “irregular and illegal”, Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan alleged at a meeting. Khan was participating in a discussion on the role of governors in a democracy and why the constitutional office was increasingly getting mired in controversies, especially in opposition ruled states.
Insisting that the rule of law, not the law of the ruler must prevail in a democracy like India, Khan said the mandate of a government is to run a state in accordance with the rules of law and the Constitution.
“In my three years as Kerala governor, I have challenged the government to show me a single instance when I interfered with any policy matter or in any appointments or transfers. But when it comes to universities, the law clearly states that Governor is chancellor and running universities falls under his jurisdiction. They were asking me to sign on things that are, according to me, irregular and illegal. I could not look the other way because the decisions could then be struck down by court,”Khan said.
Referring to his run-in with Kerala’s elected government over appointments at various universities in the state, Khan said he was “exasperated and frustrated by the continued irregularities” and nepotism in appointments and wanted to resign. However, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in successive letters to him, asked him not only to continue as chancellor, but also gave him an “unqualified assurance” that irregular appointments at Kerala varsities would stop. Khan alleged though, that Vijayan did not keep his word.