The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday said Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi does not have the power to interfere in the daily activities of the Union Territory of Puducherry, ANI reported.
The High Court said that the elected government has power over service matters and cancelled two clarification orders issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2017 on the powers of the lieutenant governor, according to NDTV. The court was hearing a petition filed by Puducherry Congress MLA Lakshminarayanan, who challenged the validity of the clarifications.
The High Court ruled that Bedi does not have the right to interfere with the powers of the chief minister of Puducherry or the right to seek any government documents from the Puducherry government, reported India Today.
The Ministry of Home Affairs in its clarification said the lieutenant governor of a Union Territory enjoys more power than a governor of a state and can act without the aid and advice of the council of ministers, PTI had reported. It also said the lieutenant governor can call for files relating to any case and request the chief minister for an update.
The clarifications were issued amid a tussle between Bedi and Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy over the administration of the Union Territory. The petitioner had claimed that the clarifications were issued on Bedi’s insistence.
“The court has said that in matters of finance, administration and service matters, she [Bedi] can’t act independently but has to consult and act on the advise of the council of ministers,” said Gandhirajan, counsel for petitioner, according to NDTV.
Bedi and the Congress government in Puducherry have been at odds since she assumed office in 2016.
In February, Narayanasamy staged a six-day sit-in dharna outside the Raj Nivas to protest against Bedi’s alleged “negative stand” towards his government’s proposals that needed clearance. Narayanasamy had accused Bedi of not clearing 39 government proposals.