An order passed by the Madras High Court regarding powers of the Lieutenant-Governor in Puducherry gave fresh ammo to the Aam Aadmi Party, which has been locked in a legal battle with two Delhi L-Gs since 2015.
In its order, the court said, “The Administrator cannot interfere in the day-to-day affairs of the government. The decision taken by the Council of Ministers and the Chief Minister is binding on the Secretaries and other officials.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal hit out at the Centre after the order was passed and tweeted: “Welcome verdict by the Madras High Court stating unambiguously that Modi government’s political nominee, Puducherry LG Ms Kiran Bedi, has no power to interfere in elected government’s functioning. Constitution is clear but Modi govt refused to allow non-BJP elected governments to function.”
Delhi and Puducherry, both union territories, are governed by different Acts. While Delhi is governed through the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act,1991, Puducherry is administered as part of the Pondicherry (Administration) Act,1962.
In Delhi, law and order, policing and land is not under the elected government. The matter of services — primarily transferring and posting officials — was also taken away from the government in 2015.
In an official statement, AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said, “Elected governments in Delhi and Puducherry… have been subjected to severe injustice by the Narendra Modi government at the Centre under the garb that since these are not full-fledged states, therefore the ultimate control is of the Central government. Both Delhi and Puducherry governments had to repeatedly knock on the doors of the courts of law to seek justice against the high-handedness of the Modi government through its politically appointed nominees, the Lieutenant Governors.”
“The AAP is of the clear view that the only solution to end the injustice for Delhi and Puducherry is to grant these full statehood,” Bharadwaj said. The issue of full statehood has also emerged as the main poll plank for AAP in the run-up to May 12, when the capital will vote.