Madras HC issues notice in petition to recall Puducherry LG Kiran Bedi

Madras HC issues notice in petition to recall Puducherry LG Kiran Bedi

Meera Emmanuel

The Madras High Court Bench of Justices CT Selvam (pictured left) and N Sathish Kumar (pictured right) on Monday issued notice in a petition seeking to recall Kiran Bedi from her current post as Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry.

The petition, filed by CPI party volunteer T Murugan, has prayed for the same in light of the flagrant violations of the oath of office taken by Kiran Bedi.

Murugan’s petition rests on the broad contention that Bedi has shown scant respect for the Constitutional limits of her office throughout her term. The petition states,

“…right from the day of assumption of office, till date…[she] has not respected the Constitution of India, the separation of powers, and the procedures prescribed under it and has miserably and conclusively failed to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution thereby violating the oath taken by her…”

It has been contended that Bedi has demonstrated undue interference in judicial, legislative and executive domains. Murugan cites instances of financial impropriety, interference in the election process, interference with medical admissions and interference with the principles of Democracy.

In light of these alleged violations, Murugan goes on to argue,

Violation of norms and taking decisions without jurisdiction and functioning in an autocratic manner with one point agenda to increase her publicity rating and as an optical strategist to show case to the people that she and she alone is doing good and providing fodder to the press and media is alone what is achieved and governance and welfare of the people have completely failed in the Union Territory of Puducherry. [sic]”

The petition also notes that a report made by an inquiry committee, which concluded that Bedi was not fit to be posted in any sensitive post of the Police Department. Given that the post of Lieutenant Governor is of a similar sensitive nature, the petitioner argues that this report was not duly considered by the Government before Bedi was appointed to the post.

A representation made to the Union Government in October last year, raising these concerns, received no positive response.

Murugan has therefore prayed that the Madras High Court issue a writ of Mandamus, directing the government to remove Kiran Bedi from the office of Puducherry’s Lieutenant Governor/Administrator.

The plea had initially come up before the First Bench of the Court through Senior Counsel ARL Sunderesan on February 23. However, Chief Justice Indira Banerjee recused herself from the case, in the interest of judicial propriety. Justice Banerjee opined that it may not be proper that she hear the case, since she has, in an official capacity, interacted with Lieutenant Governor Bedi on various occasions.

The matter will be taken up next on March 19.

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