ESCALATING THE cold war between the Puducherry government and Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi, CM V Narayanasamy on Monday endorsed the ruling of Assembly speaker V Vaithilingam to relieve Puducherry municipal commissioner R Chandrasekaran of his duties and place him on compulsory wait. Bedi had struck down the order on Friday and called it “invalid”, as it was “not issued with approval of the competent authority”. On Monday, she repeated that the Union Territory’s legislature was not empowered to make appointments.
Chief Secretary Manoj Parida, who passed the order based on directions of Speaker V Vaithilingam, also faces the heat after Bedi said that Chandrasekaran will continue as commissioner. She has sought a compliance report from Parida. When Chandrasekaran received the order from Bedi to retain his post and continue duties on Monday, S Ganessin, the director of Art and Culture department who was given the additional post of commissioner by the Speaker, also assumed charge and held meetings with the minister and senior officials in the municipal department.
Vaithilingam alleged that Bedi is not allowing the government to function properly. “Municipal commissioner Chandrasekaran was removed from the post after there was a privilege motion against him in the Assembly by an MLA,” he told The Indian Express.
The Speaker said the complaint against Chandrasekaran was that he was not responding to MLAs in crucial civic and public issues. “We still did not suspend him; only kept him on wait after removing him from his post,” Vaithilingam said. “The ruling was based on the privilege motion by me (Speaker), which cannot be challenged.”
As the order was issued when Bedi was on an official tour, she sent a letter to Vaithilingam on Friday. The Speaker’s office returned the letter, saying it was not signed by Bedi. This apparently provoked Bedi and she sent another note to Vaithilingam through her secretary, G Theva Neethi Dhas, which declared that the relieving order was “invalid”.
On Monday, Chief Minister Narayanasamy, who endorsed Vaithilingam’s order, said that as the CM, he had immediately accepted the Speaker’s ruling.
“The ruling of the Speaker is final and is in total agreement with the provisions of Rule 312 of Business Rules of the Assembly. It cannot be changed by any other source,” Narayanasamy said. He said that a failure in enforcing the Assembly Speaker’s ruling will also lead to the Cabinet facing a privilege issue and serious punitive action, including imprisonment.