• Associate Sponsor

In fact: Delhi, Puducherry, different LGs, varying powers

Special constitutional provisions make the Delhi LG’s office more powerful, but if Bedi chooses to be difficult, there is little that the Puducherry govt can do.

Written by Maneesh Chhibber | Updated: January 16, 2017 12:26 am
Kiran Bedi, najeeb jung, delhi, puducherry, delhi lg, puducherry lg, puducherry Kiran Bedi, delhi najeeb jung, explained news, indian express explained news Puducherry LG Kiran Bedi with Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

When Puducherry Lt Governor (LG) Kiran Bedi claimed that the powers of a Lieutenant Governor of a Union Territory are different from that of a state, that she could choose to overlook the Legislature “depending on how compelling are the circumstances”, and that she would “correct mistakes in the Budget” for the coming year, she was not lying — she can, however, be accused of vastly overstating her powers. [The LG spoke to The Indian Express, ‘Bedi says need not consult Cabinet, will have a say in Budget’, print edition of January 10, 2017, online at http://bit.ly/2iX9wmv%5D

The powers of the LG of Puducherry are different from the ones of the LG of Delhi, the other UT that has an elected legislature and government. The LG of Delhi has “Executive Functions” that allow him to exercise his powers in matters connected to public order, police and land “in consultation with the Chief Minister, if it is so provided under any order issued by the President under Article 239 of the Constitution”. Simply put, the LG of Delhi enjoys greater powers than the LG of Puducherry.

While the LG of Delhi is also guided by the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991, and the Transaction of Business of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Rules, 1993, the LG of Puducherry is guided mostly by the Government of Union Territories Act, 1963.

Articles 239 and 239AA of the Constitution, as well as the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991, clearly underline that Delhi is a UT, where the Centre, whose eyes and ears are the LG, has a much more prominent role than in Puducherry.

Kiran Bedi, najeeb jung, delhi, puducherry, delhi lg, puducherry lg, puducherry Kiran Bedi, delhi najeeb jung, explained news, indian express explained news Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley (above) in New Delhi earlier this month. PTI

The Government of Union Territories Act, 1963 provides for a Legislative Assembly of Pondicherry (as Puducherry was then called), with a Council of Ministers to govern the “Union Territory of Pondicherry”. The same Act says that the UT will be administered by the President of India through an Administrator (LG).

At the same time, Section 18 of the Act, which deals with “Extent of legislative power” of the Assembly, says that MLAs “may make laws for the whole or any part of the Union Territory with respect to any of the matters enumerated in the State List or the Concurrent List”.

And Section 44 of the Act, which deals with the Council of Ministers and its working, says the Council of Ministers headed by a Chief Minister will “aid and advise the Administrator in the exercise of his functions in relation to matters with respect to which the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory has power to make laws”. But there is a catch. The same clause also allows the LG to “act in his discretion” in the matter of lawmaking, even though the Council of Ministers has the task of aiding and advising him.

In case of a difference of opinion between the LG and his Ministers on any matter, the Administrator is bound to refer it to the President for a decision and act according to the decision given by the President. However, the Administrator can also claim that the matter is urgent, and take immediate action as he deems necessary.

Under Section 22 of the Act, prior sanction of the Administrator is required for certain legislative proposals. These include Bills or amendments that the Council of Ministers intends to move in the Legislative Assembly, and which deal with the “constitution and organisation of the court of the Judicial Commissioner”, and “jurisdiction and powers of the court of the Judicial Commissioner with respect to any of the matters in the State List or the Concurrent List”.

Section 23 of the Act also makes it obligatory on the part of the UT government to seek the “recommendation” of the LG before moving a Bill or an amendment to provide for “the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax”, “the amendment of the law with respect to any financial obligations undertaken or to be undertaken”, and anything that has to do with the Consolidated Fund of the UT. Once the Assembly has passed a Bill, the LG can either grant or withhold his assent; or reserve it for the consideration of the President. He can also send it back to the Assembly for reconsideration.

The manner in which the LG functions vis-à-vis the elected government (Council of Ministers) is also spelt out in the Rules of Business of the Government of Pondicherry, 1963, issued on June 22, 1963.

Under Rule 47, which deals with persons serving in the UT government, the Administrator exercises powers regulating the conditions of service of such persons in consultation with the Chief Minister. In case the LG has a difference of opinion with the Chief Minister, he can refer the matter to the central government for the decision of the President.

Under the constitutional scheme, the Delhi Assembly has the power to legislate on all subjects except law and order and land. However, the Puducherry Assembly can legislate on any issue under the Concurrent and State Lists. However, if the law is in conflict with a law passed by Parliament, the law passed by Parliament prevails. But like the AAP government in Delhi, the Congress government in Puducherry too can do little but watch helplessly if the LG appointed by the Centre starts making life difficult for it.

maneesh.chhibber@expressindia.com

For all the latest Explained News, download Indian Express App

  1. H
    Harsh
    Jan 16, 2017 at 5:51 am
    The same issue of undue interference each time! BJP really needs to learn what cooperative federalism actually is and should be. I didn't want to single out the LG of Puducherry for this, though I believe BJP ruined her political career forever, but there needs to be an end to this. Centre should not try to topple elected governments of the states. If it was wrong for the earlier governments, it is wrong for this Modi government as well.
    (0)(0)
    Reply
    1. P
      Pi
      Jan 16, 2017 at 3:48 pm
      Kiran was a great dancer during IAC movement. Now she is dancing to the tune of Modi and RSS.
      (0)(0)
      Reply
      1. S
        Srinivas Injeti
        Jan 17, 2017 at 12:28 pm
        she is very good administrator
        (0)(0)
        Reply
        1. M
          madhav
          Jan 16, 2017 at 10:37 am
          This is common format of administration. Which ever state or UT, not won by BJP is will be made to submit, through Governors and LGs. They will be abused and will forced to remain in active by all means. Investigating agencies will be used for political scores.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Only one Aim. Control the country and scan respect for democracy and federalism.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;The act through LG at Pondicherry is just started after the experiment with Delhi.
          (0)(0)
          Reply
          1. M
            mahesh
            Jan 16, 2017 at 7:48 pm
            No, But you should not cry wolf only now.
            (0)(0)
            Reply
            1. Load More Comments
            Adda