High drama at Puducherry assembly: Speaker at odds with court order reinstating MLAs

The Madras High Court on Thursday upheld Lt Governor Kiran Bedi's appointment of three MLAs to the Puducherry assembly.
High drama at Puducherry assembly: Speaker at odds with court order reinstating MLAs
High drama at Puducherry assembly: Speaker at odds with court order reinstating MLAs
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In what appears to be an open challenge to the orders of the Madras High Court reinstating the three MLAs appointed by Lt Governor Kiran Bedi, the Puducherry assembly speaker has conveyed that he would ‘give his decision’ upon careful consideration.

According to a report in the Times of India, Puducherry assembly speaker V Vaithilingam said that he would not be changing his decision not to recognise nomination of V Saminathan, KG Shankar and Selvaganapathy.

The newspaper states that the legislative assembly secretary A Vincent Rayar wrote a letter to the three MLAs. Informing them of the decision of the speaker, the letter stated that the speaker would consult legal experts on the issue.

According to the Business Standard, the speaker conveyed, “With great respect to the High Court of Madras, I would say that before passing an order on my decision dated November 12 last year I should have been given an opportunity of being heard. Here, I was neither heard nor made a party in the writ petitions. The principles of natural justice have not not been followed. The order of the High Court was passed without hearing me. As such there is infirmity and lack of constitutional clarity in the order of the Madras High Court.”

The Hindu reported that Chief Minister Narayanaswamy's Parliamentary Secretary K Lakshminarayanan went to New Delhi soon after the HC order to consult Supreme Court lawyers on the legal recourse available to them. He told the newspaper that “there were enough grounds to go for appeal against the High Court order.”

On March 22, the Madras High Court upheld the appointment of three MLAs to the union territory's assembly by Lt Governor Kiran Bedi. The nominations had created a controversy as two of the MLAs were from the BJP while one was a pro-BJP educationist.

Chief Minister V Narayanaswamy's parliamentary secretary K Lakshminarayanan had moved the Madras High Court last July seeking to quash the recommendations sent by the Lt. Governor to the Union government. The complainant argued that the Puducherry government was not consulted for the nomination.

Even as the controversy was raging, Bedi came under fire for conducting a hasty swearing-in ceremony of the MLAs.

Meanwhile, the state assembly is to begin its interim budget session on March 26 at 9.30 am with Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi set to inaugurate it. However, on Mondaymorning, when the three MLAs tried to enter the premises of the assembly, they were stopped by security personnel at the entrance. The MLAs then got into a scuffle with the personnel and began protesting. They held placards asking the government to honour the Madras High Court’s order. They were seen trying to push their way through the gate.

Kiran Bedia, who entered the chaotic scene went into the assembly through a secondary gate, even as the three MLAs called out to her to be allowed in.

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