Madras High Court curbs L-G role in Puducherry administration

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  1. The Madras High Court has ruled that the Lieutenant Governor cannot interfere in the day to day affairs of an elected government in Puducherry.
  2. The order came on a writ petition filed by Puducherry MLA in 2017 questioning the L-G’s powers to interfere in administration despite the presence of a Council of Ministers.
  3. During the hearing,the personal secretary of the LG had submitted to the court that the LG has special powers granted by law and that as an administrator of the union territory,the LG has the powers to conduct meetings and ask for documents from the government.
  4. The High Court in its order has said that Section 44 of the Government of Union Territories Act,1963 states that there shall be a Council of Ministers in each UT to aid and advice the Administrator who shall act in his/her discretion only as any ‘special responsibilities’ were concerned.
  5. However,since the Act does not specify the ‘special responsibilities’ the Administrator and the Council of Ministers should leave the political differences apart to facilitate the smooth functioning of the government.
  6. The court also went on to point out the differences between the powers conferred on the legislatures of Puducherry and Delhi under Articles 239A and 239AA of the Constitution.The court said though Article 239AA imposes several restrictions on the legislature of Delhi but no such restrictions had been imposed explicitly in the case of Puducherry under Article 239A.
  7. According to Article 239AA,the elected legislature of NCT of Delhi cannot enact laws relating to entries 1,2 and 18 of the state list.It means that Delhi’s elected government cannot make laws concerning public order,police and land rights.
  8. However,under Articles 239A Puducherry Assembly can legislate on any issue under the Concurrent and State Lists.But,if the law is in conflict with a law passed by Parliament then the law passed by Parliament prevails.

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