The Kerala Assembly has witnessed some once in a lifetime events during its last session this month, including a motion of no confidence against Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan. Today, however, the Assembly has gone further in passing a motion against the CAG report on KIIFB, bordering on unconstitutionality.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan presented the motion to remove three pages from the CAG report, which mentions KIIFB, that wasn’t available in the draft report. Following this, a heated debate broke out within the Assembly halls on the constitutionality of such a decision and the capacity of the assembly to reject the findings of a body such as the Comptroller and Auditor General.
VD Satheesan told the assembly that the government doesn’t have the authority or the power to reject the portion in the CAG report. “The assembly shouldn’t stand with the government’s move to start such a problematic tradition. What right does the assembly have to pass such a motion, since not even the Centre would dare do such a thing. I kindly request the Speaker to dissuade the government from such an action,” he said.
Moreover, this move by the government is a very problematic trend considering how they are deep in murky, unconstitutional waters. The CAG is a constitutional body whose functions and authority are clearly outlined in various laws and acts. Moreover, a CAG report signed by the Governor of a state is presented before the Public Accounts Committee of the Assembly. The latter would give the government an opportunity to present its side to the representatives of the CAG. The constitutional body is integral to holding many governments and corporate bodies accountable.
However, in his speech today, CM Pinarayi Vijayan claimed that they would go to any length against the CAG. Moreover, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac had claimed that such a move was not problematic. However, when asked if he sought legal advice from the Advocate General or the Law Secretary, Isaac merely replied that legal advice was sought. Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala said that the CM’s action was challenging the Constitution.
Moreover, VD Satheesan, who is also the chairman of the PAC, asked whether they should consider the original report or the edited report after the motion was passed. Although the Speaker had initially ruled that the legislative assembly had authority and so the edited report should be considered, he later said that a detailed ruling will be provided after further study.