LG vs CM in Puducherry: Understanding the question of nomination to UT House

What exactly did the LG do, which precipitated the latest round of confrontation with the Chief Minister? What are the provisions under which she acted? What is the background and context of that law? The Indian Express explains.

Written by ABHIJIT BANARE | Published:July 10, 2017 1:14 am
Puducherry, Puducherry politics, kiran bedi, Puducherry CM, Puducherry LG, V Narayanasamy, bedi vs V Narayanasamy, mk stalin, indian express news, india news Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi administers the oath of office to three BJP leaders at Raj Niwas on July 4. Official Twitter handle @thekiranbedi

A dawn-to-dusk bandh backed by Chief Minister V Narayanasamy against Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi shut down much of Puducherry on Saturday. Narayanasamy described Bedi’s induction of three BJP leaders into the state Assembly last week as “a shame on the Constitution and the democratic norms and conventions”, and M K Stalin, working president of the DMK, which is in a coalition with the Congress in power, accused Bedi of “indulging in actions that blatantly disregard the democratically elected government”. On Friday, Narayanasamy had tweeted a picture of a protest fast against Bedi’s “actions of being an agent of BJP”, to which the LG had retorted, “Feel sad for our most beautiful part of India… Puducherry”, tagging the official handles of the President, Prime Minister and Home Minister. Earlier on July 6, she had posted on Twitter, “Since when is application of Law a ‘murder of democracy’? [See the] law. Central Govt has [the] power to Nominate & LG has [the] power of oath giving..!”, and “How is carrying out ones responsibilities being an agent of a party? This is Govt of India direction & as Administrator I have to abide.”

What exactly did the LG do, which precipitated the latest round of confrontation with the Chief Minister? What are the provisions under which she acted? What is the background and context of that law? What is the larger process by which lawmakers are nominated to elected bodies of people’s representatives?

Whom did LG Bedi nominate to the Puducherry Assembly, and under what circumstances?

On July 4 evening, Bedi administered the oath of office to V Saminathan, president of the BJP’s Puducherry unit, K G Shankar, its treasurer, and S Selvaganapathy, an educationist and member of the Puducherry BJP, making them members of the Assembly, and posted pictures of the ceremony at Raj Niwas on Twitter. In a press release issued the following morning, the LG’s Secretariat said the oath ceremony had been carried out “against the background of their (the nominated members) reporting the compelling circumstances they had been placed in”, following which “a careful decision was taken not to delay their taking the oath. Hence, without any public function being organised, the oath was administered in the LG’s office chamber itself.

Political parties including the Congress, DMK, VCK and Left condemned the Centre’s “arbitrariness” in choosing the three nominated members – which allowed the BJP to enter the Assembly — and the “undemocratic” manner in which they had been “secretly” sworn in. The ceremony in Raj Niwas was held on the eve of a scheduled hearing in the Madras High Court of a petition filed by a Parliamentary Secretary to the Chief Minister, seeking a stay on the nominations. The three BJP leaders had earlier met Assembly Speaker V Vaithilingam to press for the oath; however, Saminathan told reporters on July 4 that “We took the oath as the Speaker delayed the swearing-in ceremony”.

What does the law say on nominating members to the Assembly of a Union Territory?

Article 239(A), first introduced in the Constitution by the Fourteenth Amendment in 1962, allows Parliament to enact a law for the creation of “a body, whether elected or partly nominated and partly elected, to function as a Legislature” for Puducherry. Under The Government of Union Territories Act, 1963, “the Central Government may nominate not more than three persons, not being persons in the service of Government, to be members of the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory.”

Puducherry and Delhi are the only two Union Territories that also have elected Assemblies. Delhi is governed under the National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991. As per The Government of Union Territories Act that governs Puducherry, the 30-member Assembly can have an additional three members nominated by the Centre. Bedi administered the oath of office to the nominated members based on the recommendation sent by the union Home Ministry.

Where else are members nominated in a legislature?

There are two other types of nominations in a legislature: either for a community that is not adequately represented, or for members with expertise in a particular field. Rajya Sabha provides for 12 nominated members with expertise in the fields of science, art, literature and social service. In Lok Sabha, two members from the Anglo-Indian community can be nominated if the community is not adequately represented in the House. Anglo-Indian members are also nominated in nine state legislatures: West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Jharkhand. In both cases, the purpose of nomination is mentioned in the Constitution. Jammu & Kashmir has a provision for two women members to be nominated if women are not adequately represented.

What powers do nominated members have?

Anglo-Indian members of Lok Sabha enjoy the same powers as any other member of the House They can vote during a no-confidence motion. The power is similar for Anglo-Indian nominated members in state Assemblies. In Rajya Sabha, too, nominated members enjoy the same powers as other members. In the case of Puducherry, however, nominated members in the Assembly cannot vote in a no-confidence motion nor can they vote on financial matters. Since the nominated members cannot vote in a no-confidence motion, they cannot disturb the existing majority of the ruling party. In the election for the President of India, no category of nominated member is eligible to vote.

So, why does the system of nominated members exist in Puducherry?

At the time of the debate in Rajya Sabha on the Constitution Amendment Bill, the purpose of the nomination appeared to be to allow members from a community not adequately represented to be part of the legislature. However, in the enacted law, there was no mention of representation from weaker or inadequately represented sections as a purpose of the nominations. In fact, one member argued that the concept of nomination should not be applicable at all, given the size of a Union Territory, and called for such a clause to be made available only under certain conditions. Another member felt that the union government would use this provision for ulterior motives — he referred to a situation in the Nagpur Corporation where the Congress managed to overturn its minority situation by nominating members to the body. A third member suggested the use of single transferable vote, like in the case of elections to Rajya Sabha, to nominate members. A fourth suggested the use of a Resolution in the Assembly to approve the nomination of members.

What is the process followed in the nomination to the Puducherry Assembly?

Political parties have been arguing that only the Speaker has the power to induct a member in the House. However, the law for Puducherry only specifies that the central government has the power to nominate; the process to be followed is unclear as there is no rule or notification. This is similar to the nomination of an Anglo-Indian member: while the All India Anglo Indian Association and Federation of Anglo-Indian Associations in India can send recommendation for nomination to Parliament and state Assemblies, the government has the final say in sending the names to the President or Governor for nomination.

abhijit@prsindia.org (Abhijit Banare is with PRS Legislative Research in New Delhi.)

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  1. A
    Anmol
    Jul 10, 2017 at 10:44 pm
    Tyranny of the unelected opportunists. Kiran Bedi is a big time opportunist and so is her masters in BJP. BJP is the most anti-democratic party, it is misusing the office of governor and lieutent governor.
    Reply
    1. S
      Sathya
      Jul 10, 2017 at 4:46 pm
      She has acted as per the recommendation of the central government.
      Reply
      1. V
        vvvvv
        Jul 10, 2017 at 3:29 pm
        Shame and death to BJP oth acentral and states. We dont understand how Ms. Bedi behaving like mad middle agent of jee sarkar dont understand she lost her clean image shame to her bedi . It is clearly murder f Democracy.... Jai Hind
        Reply
        1. H
          HOMER
          Jul 10, 2017 at 1:45 pm
          Not just Puducherry but India was beautiful until Muslims Europeans and finally congress destroyed it! It will remain beautiful if the lapdogs of the dynasty's kleptocracy are driven out here as they were from Delhi!
          Reply
          1. S
            S.Suresh
            Jul 10, 2017 at 2:31 pm
            Please read History. If Europeans had not been come to our country India would have been many countries. During independence we have more 500 kingdoms in our country.
            Reply
            1. S
              Spandan
              Jul 10, 2017 at 5:23 pm
              So how come Puducherry is beautiful, Ms Kiran Bedi found it beautiful by her own admission? BJP has no presence in Puducherry, nor has your Hindutva (not Hindu) had any influence on it's psyche (Sri Aurobindo would not have been a supporter of your vision of India), French culture has a marked influence here. In contrast look at the places where your form of Hindutva and your BJP has predominance. How beautiful are those places or it's people? Even if there was "kleptocracy" in earlier regimes which I doubt and exists in your propaganda, it is a lesser compared to the evils or horrors perpetrated by mobocracy or theocracy. How many great authors, artists or statesmen have your ideology produced? Even those you claim as your icons (like Swami Vivekannada) would have disowned yours for it's hollowness.
              Reply
              1. A
                Anmol
                Jul 10, 2017 at 10:41 pm
                India was beautiful country, is a beautiful country, and will remain the most beautiful country in the world. It is just that Sanghis are a blot on the face of beautiful India.
                Reply
              2. D
                Dalbir
                Jul 10, 2017 at 12:25 pm
                The big question: did she administer the oath in Hindi ? is the North Indian imperialist language domination complete ? Had Tarun Vijay's wish come true that South India should be under a colonial power? Rise brothers and sisters of the South throw this Hindi into a dubt-bin and get rid of this Punjabi viceroy.
                Reply
                1. H
                  HOMER
                  Jul 10, 2017 at 1:48 pm
                  Spoken like an inbred spawn of brainless parentage! He he he! Too ignorant to realize the Aryan myth was a lie created by the ones you born to slave fools see as gods!
                  Reply
                  1. R
                    r
                    Jul 10, 2017 at 5:55 pm
                    Just like tandoor is an Indian invention? Just because Indians that something​ is true due to lack of knowledge because of blinkered ideological reasoning it does not make it true. Majority of genecist studying the migration patterns into India now agree that northern and central India is populated by those people whose ancestry is originated from Central Asia. Even culturally look at the holy thread used by parsis and brahmins. The common fire worship of parsis and Vedic Hindus. The cultic priestly order in both religions. Even the transliteration of ancient Farsi (during the time of zaurastra and Sanskrit ) indicate common origins.
                2. M
                  M. Kapil
                  Jul 10, 2017 at 11:37 am
                  The writer has conveniently avoided mentioning the fact that the previous Congress governments, with the connivance of the Congress government at the centre, has also nominated party-men as legislators in Pondicherry.
                  Reply
                  1. M
                    Mani
                    Jul 11, 2017 at 6:15 pm
                    Usually people of Puducherry mostly have good friendly govt, now bedi was good in the beginning , but now in appointing 3 bjp mla she showed her true Political face. Hope she was in position to show her loyalty to her boss.
                    Reply
                  2. T
                    TIHAEwale
                    Jul 10, 2017 at 10:26 am
                    for all said Dr. Kiran Bedi cannot forget under UPA she had seek VRS and so she has an axe to grind against Congress. She talks about moral values but had no qualms in administering Oath to defeated BJP candidates. Feku56is always keen to have people under obligation ( defeated Candidates be it Dr. KiranBedi, Arun Jhoot Lie, Smriti Irani)
                    Reply
                    1. H
                      HOMER
                      Jul 10, 2017 at 1:52 pm
                      Is There any BJP leader who can fall as low as the highest congress leader? So no matter who Dr. Bedi will always be morally out of reach of any congress leader, let alone a lowly lapdog of the high command in Puducherry!
                      Reply
                      1. V
                        vvvvv
                        Jul 10, 2017 at 3:31 pm
                        She lost her clean image you are right
                        Reply
                      2. S
                        S.Suresh
                        Jul 10, 2017 at 9:14 am
                        Centre governing BJP is misusing their power not only in Puducherry but also all over India. They didn't respect our law.
                        Reply
                        1. H
                          HOMER
                          Jul 10, 2017 at 1:54 pm
                          So have elections and find out how much power BJP has been given and how much it should ACTUALLY be having! Besides you voted for the party that has never respected our law so who can you say is better than BJP?
                          Reply
                          1. S
                            S.Suresh
                            Jul 10, 2017 at 2:45 pm
                            Corrupted mind is more dangerous than corruption. India is vast and different languages, religions, culture country. India is origin of many religions in which Hindu (Hindu consists of six religions religious sects that are in the Six-fold religion are Saivism, Vaishnavaism, Saktham, Gowmaram, Kanapathyam and Sowram), Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism,etc. BJP one ideology is wrong one. It is very danger to country UNITY. God means love. Do not kill not only cow but also all animals. Do not kill animals for their flesh to eat. It is our ancestors (Indian) aim. This world has made for all living things not only for you.
                          2. V
                            vvvvv
                            Jul 10, 2017 at 3:32 pm
                            Very true only adhee chadees favor this central govt murder of Democracy.. We all youth must open our eyes... Jai Hind
                            Reply
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