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Kerala guv threatens to remove ministers for 'lowering dignity'

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan’s warning to remove ministers of the Left Democratic Front who “lower his dignity” has evoked sharp reactions from the ruling CPM.

The threat was issued through a tweet sent from Raj Bhavan’s official Twitter handle. It read; The CM and Council of Ministers have every right to advise the Governor. But statements of individual ministers that lower the dignity of the office of the Governor, can invite action including withdrawal of pleasure”

Khan issued the warning after being reportedly annoyed by higher education minister R Bindu's statement criticising his action of sacking 15 senate members of Kerala university for failing to discharge their duties. He had taken the action in the wake of the Senate's failure to nominate a member to a selection committee appointing the next vice chancellor as instructed by the governor.

So, the big question is whether the governor has the powers to remove a minister? Former Lok Sabha secretary general P D T Achary says the constitution does not empower the governor to remove ministers.

The power to remove ministers’ rests with the chief minister alone. Only a chief minister can appoint a minister and only a chief minister can remove a minister. The governor has no role in this exercise. His role is only to heed the advice of the council of ministers, the constitutional expert said.

The CPM state secretariat said the governor was acting in a manner that is not in line with the constitutional post he occupies. “There are no dictatorial powers vested with the office of governor. His latest tweet on Raj Bhavan's official Twitter account lowers the dignity of the governor's office. Moreover, it amounts to saying that the governor can dismiss a minister as per his will. The Constitution does not give such authoritarian powers to the Governor,” the party said.

The CPM urged the President to immediately intervene in the matter and restrain the Governor from making such un-constitutional and anti-democratic statements.

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