Puducherry Lieutenant Governor (LG) Kiran Bedi has suffered a major setback after the Madras High Court on Tuesday, April 30, curtailed her powers, stating that the LG has no powers to interfere with the day-to-day activities of the Union Territory. This development came as a major relief for Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanaswamy.
Both Bedi and Narayansamy were locked in a war of words over alleged interference in the state's policies ever since she assumed office two years back on May 2016.
The Madras HC's verdict came today after hearing a writ petition filed by Puducherry Congress legislator K Lakshminarayanan against Bedi. "Bedi does not have to power to call for files and give orders to the officials," the court mentioned in its judgement.
"The Madras HC said the Lt Governor doesn't have any right to interfere with the powers of Puducherry CM. The administrative and financial powers are with the elected government of Puducherry and the Bedi has to act as per the advice of the Council of Ministers," Lakshminarayanan stated.
Earlier, the Puducherry Chief Minister had accused Kiran Bedi of working on orders of the Central Government to disrupt the functioning of the state government. Narayanasamy had said that Bedi has no power at all. "Bedi has to only be a post office and sign papers which have been sent by the council of ministers. She has no right to touch cabinet decisions...she is vetoing decisions. She is being encouraged by the PM to create problems for our government," the CM said.
In reply, Kiran Bedi stated: "Sad to see when a Chief Minister sends a letter to Lt Governor and within a week demands a reply by force of a 'dharna'/ blockade of Raj Nivas. Also makes unfounded allegations, misleading people in the state of Puducherry."
However, Kiran Bedi had denied all allegations levelled on her, saying she goes by the rule book. Bedi stated that she had been functioning in terms of the powers conferred on her under the Government of Union Territories Act of 1963. Puducherry went to polls on April 18, as part of the second phase of the seven-phased Lok Sabha 2019 elections. Results will be declared on May 23.