Centre moves SC against Madras HC verdict on Puducherry LG

The Centre on Wednesday (May 8) approached the Supreme Court challenging the verdict of Madras High Court which held that Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi “cannot interfere” in the day-to-day affairs of the elected government of the Union Territory.

The matter was mentioned for urgent listing before a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta. “There is a standstill in the governance there (Puducherry),” Mehta told the bench while seeking urgent listing of the matter.

The bench, however, declined the request and said it had earlier made it clear that advocates seeking urgent listing of their matters can give the listing memos to the registrar.

On April 30, the Madras High Court had allowed a plea filed by K Laksminarayanan, a Congress MLA, and set aside the two communications issued in January and June 2017 by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs “elevating” the power of the administrator. Referring to the Supreme Court judgement on the tussle between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lt Governor Anil Baijal, the high court had said that restrictions imposed on Government of Delhi are not applicable to the Government of Puducherry.

“The Administrator cannot interfere in the day-to-day affairs of the government. The decision taken by the Council of Ministers and the Chief Minister is binding on the Secretaries and other officials,” the high court had said. Laksminarayanan had claimed in his petition before the high court that the administrator was interfering in the day-to-day administration of the territorial government, its policies and programmes.