Bedi can reverse Puducherry govt's decisions: Centre

Bedi can reverse Puducherry govt's decisions: Centre

 The Centre has made it clear to Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy that the union territory's Lt Governor Kiran Bedi enjoys powers to call for all files and papers and reverse his government's decisions if required.

In response to clarification sought by Narayanasamy as well as Bedi, the Union Home Ministry cited the judgement of the Delhi High Court, which made it clear that the Lt Governor of a union territory would have executive powers wider than the discretion exercised by Governor of a state.

In a replay of the stand-off between Delhi's former Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, New Delhi said the Lt Governor can take action as "deemed" necessary "without seeking the "aid and advice" of the Council of Ministers.

The Centre said, while the day-to-day business of each department is to be carried on by the Minister and the Secretary concerned, it would be open for the Lt Governor to call upon the secretary of a department to present before her papers relating to a case and take action as envisaged in the Rules of Business.

It, however, clarified that the Rules of Business did not envisage the Lt Governor summoning the CM or any other minister, she could, "as a measure of courtesy request the CM and any minister to update her on any doubt or query.

The Centre's communication comes after the Puducherry Assembly adopted a resolution on June 17 urging New Delhi to curb the powers of Bedi. 

Narayanasamy crossed swords with Bedi after she intervened into the admission into post-graduate medical courses in Puducherry following reports of irregularities. Bedi had conducted a surprise inspection of the counselling process by the Centralised Admission Committee in Puducherry and directed officials to ensure that 50 percent of seats available under government quota were filled and not given to private colleges or under all-India quota.

The CM had alleged that Bedi was criticising ministers and officials on social media and that she should stop making "derogatory remarks."

Bedi asked whether Narayanasamy wanted a rubber stamp or a responsible administrator for the post of lieutenant-governor whereas the chief minister accused Bedi of paralysing the administration.

Narayanasamy said the reason of dispute is that she called for video conferencing without his knowledge. "She wants a review meeting of the departments without the minister of department knowing it. She cannot act independently," he added.

Bedi had last month met Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi and apprised him of the "constraints" she faced in serving the union territory. Last year, Bedi had threatened to quit and leave the union territory if there was no improvement in the situation.

Bedi has held that "As far as I am concerned, what is the power of law now? I am duty bound for that. If it changes, I have no choice. At the moment too, I don't have any choice, but to carry on what is on record - my legal responsibilities."

Narayanswamy had countered by saying that "some clarity is required, therefore, we passed a resolution in the assembly(against the Lt Governor). The members of the Legislative Assembly wanted a resolution to be brought that the elected government should be centered. We have not passed any resolution against any individual."

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