Kerala moved SC against the unconstitutional, illegal financial measures of Centre: CM Vijayan


PTI, Dec 14, 2023, 2:46 PM IST

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said his government has moved the Supreme Court against the Centre’s allegedly ”unconstitutional and illegal” measures that have pushed the southern state into dire straits financially.

Vijayan contended that even though the state government repeatedly communicated to the Centre to stop its ”discriminatory” actions, the Central government intensified its ”vindictive moves” to make it difficult for Kerala to survive.

”In this backdrop, the state government has approached the Supreme Court against the discriminatory measures of the Center which is throwing Kerala into dire straits by sacrificing the federal principles of the Constitution of India.” he said at a press conference held here as part of the Nava Kerala Sadas, an outreach programme of the Left administration.

The CM said the aim behind initiating the legal battle was to seek an order from the apex court under Article 131 of the Constitution which deals with settling Centre-state disputes.

Vijayan said the petition seeks to restore the constitutional rights of the state governments by urging the apex court to prevent unconstitutional interference by the Centre in the states’ financial affairs, repeal unconstitutional cuts to state borrowing limits, revoke the Centre’s order including the states’ public account liabilities in the borrowing limit, etc.

The plea also seeks to prohibit the central measures that encroach upon the states’ constitutional prerogatives by the exercise of powers not contained in the Constitution, the CM said.

He said that the Centre’s failure to provide GST compensation and the reduction in revenue deficit grant by it have squeezed the southern state financially.

”We have tried to overcome this by increasing tax and non-tax revenue and prioritising expenditure, but the economic impact is more than we can bear,” the CM said.

Vijayan said instead of seeking an explanation from the Centre for such measures, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan was asking for a report from the state government on a petition for imposing financial emergency in the southern state.

”The Governor shouuld seek an explanation from the Centre, which is consistently trying to derail development and welfare activities in the State by encroaching on financial autonomy through cuts to borrowing limits,” he said.

Vijayan said that Khan’s move seeking a report from the state will not be able to hide the central government measures which have allegedly affected the economy of Kerala.

At the same time, the CM said since the Governor has sought a report, the government will be responding to the same.

”We are examining how to respond to the Governor’s letter. But, what I said was that he (Khan) should examine the veracity of the petitions he receives, instead of simply forwarding it to us and seeking an explanation,” Vijayan added.

The CM said that presently, the state urgently needs Rs 26,226 crore to ease the crisis caused by the central measures.

”It will not be enough to overcome the crisis. It is estimated that the loss due to central measures will be between 2 and 3 lakh crore rupees in the next five years.

”This would be 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the state’s GDP over a five-year period. If this danger is not prevented, it will lead the state to a crisis from which it may not be able to recover even after decades due to the limited resources of Kerala,” Vijayan said.

He called upon the opposition and Kerala society to stand with the state government as it embarks on a decisive legal and historic battle to preserve Indian federalism.

Khan on Wednesday had termed as unfortunate that the Left government was not able to pay pensions to those who worked over 35 years for the state.

”But, those who worked for two years as ministers’ personal staff are continuing to get their pensions,” he said.

He also reiterated what he said on Tuesday that the Chief Secretary of the state had submitted an affidavit in the Kerala High Court stating that the government was not in a position to honour the financial guarantees given by it.

”It means the government is unable to fulfil its Constitutional duties. On the other hand, we are seeing festivities on a large scale. Extravaganza. Just for renovation of a swimming pool, Rs 10 lakh is being spent. So, I do not know how to react to this situation,” Khan had said.

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