NEW DELHI: Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi on Tuesday moved Supreme Court seeking clarity over who holds the administrative control of the Union Territory. She has filed her plea saying that status quo be maintained as it existed before Madras High Court order which curtailed her authority to act independently of an elected government in April this year. The plea will be taken up for hearing on Thursday.
Bedi argued that government officers in Puducherry were in a fix after the apex court issued a notice on a Madras High Court order that curbed her powers.
The Madurai bench of Madras High Court had in April quashed the order granting special powers to Bedi as Puducherry Lieutenant Governor and said that she cannot interfere in the day to day affairs of the government under the guise of supremacy or public interest when there is an elected government in power.
The decision had come as a huge relief to Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanaswamy who has had several face-offs with Bedi over the extent of her powers in the Union Territory ever since she assumed office in May 2016.
In April 2017, the Lieutenant Governor had landed in a major controversy when she said that the free rice distribution would be conditional to the certification of the village being open defecation free. However, she took back the order within days as it drew flak from the legislators.
Later, her nomination of MLAs to the Puducherry Assembly, 2 of whom were part of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had also triggered a row.
On May 10, the apex court admitted Bedi's appeal to stay the High Court decision and issued a notice to various respondents, including the state government. Bedi's petition claimed that the Madras High Court had not understood the true import of the Union Territories Act.