The Puducherry Lt Gov Kiran Bedi won a victory of sorts when the Supreme Court held on Tuesday that the Congress government in the Union Territory cannot implement any decision involving financial implications of transfer of officials.
Puducherry has been witnessing a turf war between the LG appointed by the NDA government and the local government and only recently, the Madras High Court had recently held that Bedi “cannot interfere” in the day-to-day affairs of the elected government there. The SC order came on an urgent plea by the Centre and the LG’s office regarding control over bureaucrats in the wake of a turf war between the LG and the local government. The Bench also issued notice to the elected government and allowed the Cabinet to meet on June 7, but said that decisions with serious financial implication and transfers cannot be implemented till the next date of hearing . Appearing for the Puducherry government, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal objected that the direction by the court to temporarily halt Cabinet decisions was tantamount to a virtual stay on the Madras High Court decision, which had curbed the LG’s powers to interfere in the day-to-day administration of the Union Territory, especially when an elected government was in place. But the court did not relent. The Central authorities said the high court decision had brought the “administrative machinery of Puducherry to an impasse” and required urgent rectification.
The LG and the government had earlier clashed over the issue of nominated MLAs to the assembly and distribution of food to BPL families, both issues that finally called for judicial intervention.
—India Legal Bureau