The Supreme Court today declined to stay a Madras High Court order restricting Puducherry Lieutanant Governor Kiran Bedi's authority to act independently of the elected government in the Union Territory, which is led by Congress lawmaker V Narayanasamy. The top court also said a stay might be considered in the next hearing but did not set a future date.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing Ms Bedi and the Centre, sought a stay of the high court order and told the bench, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, that there was havoc in the administration after the high court order.
Acting on Congress legislator K Lakshminarayanan's petition, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court had ruled in April that in matters of finance, administration and service matters, Ms Bedi could only act on the advice of the council of ministers.
In doing so, the court dismissed a 2017 Union Home Ministry clarification on the powers of a Lieutanant Governor.
The Puducherry government and Ms Bedi have been at loggerheads since the latter assumed office in 2016. Mr Narayanasamy and the Congress have accused her of delaying clearance to welfare schemes, bypassing the elected government and criticised her weekly field visits.
The party had also targeted her following her intervention in an alleged scam involving admissions to private medical colleges.
In a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, he also charged the Lieutanant Governor with "adopting a high handed, arm twisting and autocratic style of governance" in Puducherry.
However Kiran Bedi had denied these allegations, claiming she would not be a "rubber stamp" Lieutenant Governor.
Earlier, she also took on the Puducherry assembly speaker by swearing in three BJP candidates as legislators nominated by the centre. The speaker refused to let them in the assembly till the Supreme Court approved her action.
Their appointments were subsequently upheld by the top court in 2018, with the court ruling, "We are of the clear opinion that nomination in the Legislative Assembly of Puducherry is not the business of the government of Puducherry. It is a business of central government".
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