The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to urgently hear a plea by Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi over her powers to act independently of the elected government in the Union Territory, The Hindu reported.
The vacation bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi agreed to hear the petition on Thursday. Bedi sought to maintain the status quo that existed before the Madras High Court order, which ruled that Bedi does not have the powers to interfere or act independently in the day-to-day affairs of the elected government, reported The Indian Express.
On May 10, the top court had issued a notice to Chief Minister V Narayanasamy after hearing Bedi’s special leave petition challenging the Madras High Court order. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who had represented Bedi and the Centre, had told a bench headed by Gogoi that governance in the Union Territory had come to a standstill.
The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court had ruled in April that in matters of finance, administration and service matters, Bedi could only act on the advice of the council of ministers. Narayanasamy had hailed the verdict as victory of democracy. The court was hearing a petition filed by Congress leader K Laksminarayanan alleging Bedi was running a “parallel government” in Puducherry.
The court’s ruling effectively dismissed a clarification issued by the Home Ministry in 2017, which said the lieutenant governor has powers to act independently and is not bound by the council of ministers. The Home Ministry’s clarification had come amid a tussle between Bedi and Narayanasamy over the administration of Puducherry.
The lieutenant governor and the Congress government have been at odds since Bedi assumed office in 2016. Narayanasamy and the Congress have accused Bedi of delaying clearance for welfare schemes and for bypassing the elected government.
Bedi completed three years as the lieutenant governor of Puducherry on Tuesday. She thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Narayanasamy. She praised the political class in the Union Territory for providing authentic leadership and resolving people’s issues. She left for Delhi on Tuesday to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 30, PTI reported.