SC issues notice in appeal against Madras High Court judgment on Puducherry LG interference

SC issues notice in appeal against Madras High Court judgment on Puducherry LG interference

The Supreme Court today issued notice in the appeal filed by the Central government against a recent decision of the Madras High Court which had ruled that the elected government in the Union Territory of Puducherry assumes supremacy over the Lieutenant Governor.

The matter was heard by a Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna.

Earlier this week, the Centre had approached the Supreme Court in appeal against the decision of the Madras High Court delivered on April 30.

A plea was filed in the Madras High Court against Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi for running a “parallel government” in the Union Territory. On April 30, the High Court ruled that the Lieutenant Governor cannot interfere in the day-to-day affairs of the Government under the guise of supremacy or public interest.

The Court, therefore, quashed two communications made by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in January and June 2017, which the Court found had effectively undermined the power of the Legislative Assembly and elevated the power of the Administrator, though not exactly available under the applicable laws.

On a detailed examination of Articles 239A, 239B and 240 of the Constitution, the Government of Union Territories Act, 1963, the Rules of Business of the Government of Pondicherry, 1963 as well as the Delegation of Financial Powers Rules, 1978, the Court eventually ruled that the elected government in Puducherry assumes supremacy in governance over the Lieutenant Governor, save in few contingent situations. Even then, Justice R Mahadevan highlighted that the Lieutenant Governor’s powers are carried out through the authority of the President of India and with his approval.

The High Court verdict was delivered in a petition brought by K Lakshminarayanan, a Congress member of the Puducherry Legislative Assembly and Parliamentary Secretary to incumbent Chief Minister, V Narayanaswamy.

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