President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday appointed former Union minister Arif Mohammed Khan as new Governor of Kerala. Khan, had resigned from the Rajiv Gandhi-led government in 1986 due to his differences over the Muslim personal law bill, replaced P Sathasivam in the South Indian state.
Reacting to the news, Khan said that ‘it’s an opportunity to serve.’ “It's an opportunity to serve. Fortunate to be born in a country like India which is so vast and rich in diversity. It's a great opportunity for me to know this part of India, which forms boundary of India and is called god's own country,” he said.
Born in the year 1951 in Bulandshahr District of Uttar Pradesh, Khan was educated at Jamia Millia School, Delhi, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh and Shia College, Lucknow University.
He contested the first Assembly election under the banner of Bharatiya Kranti Dal but was defeated. He became a member of the Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh in 1977 at the age of 26.
He elected to the Lok Sabha in 1980 from Kanpur as a Congress candidate and in 1984 from Bahraich. He was Minister of State in the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1986 but he resigned over the government's stand in the Shah Bano case.
In 1986, he quit the Indian National Congress due to differences over the passage of Muslim Personal Law Bill which was piloted by Rajiv Gandhi in the Lok Sabha. He was against the triple talaq legislation and resigned because of differences with Rajiv Gandhi on this issue. Arif Mohammed
Khan joined the Janata Dal and was re-elected to the Lok Sabha in 1989. During the Janata Dal rule, Khan served Union minister of civil aviation and energy. He left the Janata Dal to join the Bahujan Samaj Party and again entered the Lok Sabha in 1998 from Bahraich.
Khan held ministerial responsibilities from 1984 to 1990. In 2004, he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha election as a BJP candidate that year from Kaisarganj constituency. Khan quit the BJP in 2007 to remain non-partisan.
However, he openly supported the criminalisation of the practice of triple talaq. “There is absolutely no doubt that if it becomes a proper law then it would help in upholding the dignity of women,” Khad had once said.
Shah Bano Case
Shah Bano was a Muslim women who filed a criminal suit in court against her husband after he divorced her in 1978. She won the right to alimony from her husband, who challenged the court’s order in Supreme. The top court upheld the lower court’s order.
However, the Rajiv Gandhi-led government brought a bill - Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 in Parliament to reverse the judgment. Strongly opposing the move, Khan had quit the government.