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In News:

  • The Madras High Court ruled that the Lieutenant-Governor (L-G)ofPuducherry could not interfere with the day-to-day
    administration of the Union Territory when an elected government was in place.

In Brief:

  • The Central government as well as the Administrator [the term used in the Constitution to refer to the Lieutenant-Governor]
    should be true to the concept of democratic principles. Otherwise, the constitutional scheme of the country of being
    democratic and republic would be defeated.
  •  The judge made it clear that government secretaries were bound to take instructions from the ministers concerned and the
    Council of Ministers, headed by the Chief Minister, besides reporting to them on official matters. “The secretaries are not
    empowered to issue orders on their own or upon the instructions of the Administrator.

Practice disapproved

  •  He disapproved of the alleged practice of government officials being part of social media groups through which the L-G was
    issuing instructions to them for redress of public grievances and reminded them that as per rules, they were bound to use only
    authorised medium of communication when it came to issues related to administration.
  •  The judge held that those communications had been issued without reference to the constitutional provisions and other laws.
  • Though the Centre had primarily questioned the locus standi of the petitioner to file the case, the judge rejected the
    objections on the ground that such a writ petition at the instance of an MLA was maintainable.
  •  In his judgment, Justice Mahadevan 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

Article 239A

  •  Creation of local Legislatures or Council of Ministers or both for certain
    Union territories
  •  Parliament may by law create for the Union territory of Pondicherry –a body, whether elected or partly nominated and partly elected, to function as a Legislature for the Union territory, or  a Council of Ministers, or both with such constitution, powers and functions,
    in each case, as may be specified in the law.
  •  Any such law as is referred to in clause (1) shall not be deemed to be an
    amendment of this Constitution for the purposes of article 368 notwithstanding
    that it contains any provision which amends or has the effect of
    amending this Constitution.

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