[dropcap]P[/dropcap]UDUCHERRY Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi got no relief in Madras High Court on Wednesday. The court refused to stay the single judge decision that restrained her from interfering in the functioning of the elected government in the Union Territory.
The single judge order had held that the elected government in Puducherry had supremacy over the Lt. Governor. The order came after a plea was filed in the Madras High Court in April, complaining that the Lt. was running a “parallel government” in the Union Territory.
A bench comprising Justices Vineet Kothari and CV Karthikeyan adjourned the matter observing that it involved a detailed judgment and the constitutional scheme and required a perusal.
The court has listed the matter for next hearing on September 4.
The Centre which had earlier moved the Supreme Court challenging the single judge verdict has now challenged this verdict before the Division Bench of the High Court.
On July 12, the Supreme Court had asked the Union Home Ministry and administration to move the Madras High Court for appeal against the single bench order dated April 30.
The High Court observed, “the administration cannot interfere in the day to day affairs of the government as the decision taken by the Council of Ministers and the Chief Ministers is binding on the Secretariat and other officials.”
The power tussle between the Puducherry government and the Lt. Governor came into play after the former took several welfare decisions like distributing free rice to all ration card holders among others in the Union Territory.
Opposing the move, the Lt. Governor had argued that such decisions could not be permitted as it would lead to huge financial implications on the exchequer.
On the contrary, the government claimed that the Lt. Governor has been interfering in the day-to-day administration work.
Notably, referring to the apex court judgment of Government of NCT of Delhi vs Union of India & another, which was based on the power tussle of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the Lt. Governor, the single judge bench of Madras High Court had held that the limitations imposed on the government of Delhi are not applicable to Puducherry government.