Armed with a Home Ministry letter that she claims vindicates her position in the battle with Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi says her “responsibilities” are clear and she would continue to fulfil them.
She also dismissed the chief minister’s claim that the central government was neither supporting nor encouraging her in the duel between the two over powers of the chief minister vis-a-vis the LG, saying he needs to “revisit” the rules. “This is what he imagines. Or may be hoped,” she added.
“I am doing what is expected of a Lt Governor to do to fulfil responsibilities as laid down,” she told IANS, reacting to Narayanasamy’s charge that she interfered with the day-to-day functioning of the union territory’s administration in violation of Constitutional norms.
Bedi said the chief minister “needs to read the rules of business carefully”.
“The repeated clarity provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs on questions he raised and the communications from the Government of India leaves no doubts at all,” she said in reply to questions over the the chief minister’s accusation that she was over-reaching her powers.
She also dismissed his claim that unlike NCR Delhi, the powers are clearly defined in the case of Union Territory of Puducherry and that the “elected government is supreme”.
Asked about his charge that she was doing field visits without his knowledge or the knowledge of ministers, she said: “No. I can’t educate someone not wanting to…. my responsibilities as LG are clear. And further clarified by GoI. Again, as I said, the Chief Minister needs to revisit the rules. Same rules from which he draws his powers. They do not preclude those of the LG.”
The LG said if the two of them worked with right intentions and integrity, Puducherry can be the best in all respects. “It has everything one can ask for — gifted nature and people.”
She also cited from a letter of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) which says, among other things, that the LG can call for the papers relating to any case. “…the Lt Governor would have power to call for the file of any particular case. The use of the word “papers” in Rule 21(5) would necessarily include all the papers comprising the file.”
The ministry was replying to a question whether LG, Puducherry, has powers to dispose off business relating to departments on day-to-day basis when ministers shall be primarily responsible for the business.
Bedi also cited from the MHA letter that said the LG would have executive powers wider than the discretion which is exercised by a Governor of a State.
“While the day-to-day business of each department is to be carried on by the Minister and the Secretary concerned, it would be open for the Lt Governor to proceed under Rule 21(5) and call upon the Secretary of the department to present before him papers relating to any case and thereafter take action as envisaged under Rules 5-53 of the Rules of Business,” the MHA letter said.