NEW DELHI :
The Madras high court on Tuesday said that the administrator or in this case lieutenant governor (L-G) of Puducherry cannot interfere in the day-to-day affairs of the elected government, putting an end to the constant friction and escalating tensions between the two sides in the Union territory.
“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 court said in its ruling on Tuesday.
The elected Congress government of Puducherry, led by chief minister V. Narayanasamy, had complained about the autocratic style of functioning of the lieutenant governor of Puducherry, former top cop and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member, Kiran Bedi, and alleged constant interference by her in the affairs of the government.
“The court has said that the order taken by the elected government is final," Narayanasamy said in Puducherry.
Earlier this year, Bedi had taken to the streets and instructed people to wear helmets, which the government had suggested be implemented in a phased manner. Narayanasamy had accused Bedi of taking unilateral decisions without consulting the elected government. This had led to a stand-off between the two sides.
The chief minister and some of his colleagues then spent an entire night protesting on a street outside Raj Nivas, the official residence of the L-G, in February alleging that Bedi was withholding consent to several pending files as well.
“The central government as well as the administrator should be true to the concept of democratic principles. Otherwise, the constitutional scheme of the country of being democratic and republic, would be defeated," the court observed.
“The administrator has no exclusive authority to run the administration in derogation of the constitutional principles and the parliamentary laws governing the issue," it said.
On 27 June 2017, senior Congress leader and former minister K. Lakshminarayanan moved Madras high court seeking direction on the controversial nomination of three BJP office bearers as members of the legislative assembly, Mint reported. This was followed by several similar skirmishes between the two sides, with Bedi claiming that she was within her rights to handle day-to-day affairs.
The Congress and other opposition members had used the issue to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union government to state how the centre was using constitutional machinery to create problems for elected governments across the country.