Lok Ayukta Ordinance: UDF walks out of Kerala Assembly

The opposition Congress has been urging the Governor to not sign the ordinance

Thiruvananthapuram: The opposition Congress-led UDF on Tuesday staged a walkout in the Kerala Assembly protesting over the alleged reluctance of the Left government to discuss the recent Lok Ayukta ordinance which triggered a political controversy in the state.

They raised the ordinance issue during zero hour and wanted the House to discuss the matter suspending all other businesses but Law Minister P Rajeev objected to their demand saying that questioning an ordinance signed by the Governor through an adjournment motion would set a wrong precedent.

Strongly justifying the government action bringing the ordinance to amend some of the provisions of the state Lok Ayukta Act passed 22 years ago, he said none of the powers of the anti-corruption watchdog is taken away through the amendment and the Left government is the one which has always stood against corruption.

"The Legislative Assembly has the power to amend a law if that was found to be outdated," he pointed out.

Mocking at the government stand, Sunny Joseph (Congress), who sought notice for the motion, said they should ready to convince their coalition partner, CPI's state secretary Kanam Rajendran, who raised objection against the amendment, first before trying to convince the opposition about the ordinance.

Urging the government to explain what was the emergency need that prompted them to bring out the ordinance just before the Assembly session, opposition leader V D Satheesan said it was better to dissolve the constitutional body.

He also alleged that the government brought out the ordinance in a hasty manner as the agency was about to consider some cases against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

He also asked if the Chief Minister was afraid since cases were registered against him.

As Speaker M B Rajesh rejected leave for the motion based on the government's reply, the opposition members registered protest and walked out of the House.

Despite stiff opposition raised by opposition parties, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan earlier this month gave his assent to the ordinance promulgated by the Left government in the state to curb the powers of the Lok Ayukta.

The opposition Congress has been urging the Governor to not sign the ordinance, saying the CPI(M)-led dispensation was trying to promulgate it at a time when complaints of several irregularities of the government were pending.

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