Supreme Court puts on hold Cabinet decisions in Puducherry [05-06-2019]

New Delhi:- The Supreme Court on Tuesday restrained the Puducherry cabinet from implementing any decision with financial implications till it has examined the stand-off between the state’s Lieutenant Governor (LG), Kiran Bedi, and the chief minister over their powers.

A vacation bench comprising Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice MR Shah refused to stay a Madras High Court order which had given an upper hand to the state council of ministers. Instead, it restrained Puducherry’s Congress Government from implementing any decision taken by it if it involves finances or land.

The bench said it would hear the legal issues involved in the case on June 21, and issued formal notices to the state’s chief minister to present his views on the subject to the court. The LG and the CM have been caught in a tug of war over control over bureaucrats.

In an order passed on April 30, 2019, the high court had asked Bedi not to interfere with the day-to-day governance of the Union Territory. The bench had also sought the agenda before the cabinet meeting, which was rescheduled for June 7 from June 3. This will be presented to the top court in the next three days.

The Puducherry Government, which was represented by Kapil Sibal and P. Chidambaram, resisted the court restraint, calling it “unheard of”. But the bench passed the order, saying that while the cabinet could take decisions, it cannot implement them if it involves huge budgetary implications.

“We can’t stall everything, but don’t take any major financial decisions,” Justice Shah said. Regularisation of employees or grants in aid to municipalities can wait, he added. He, however, turned down a demand of the Union Government and Bedi, made through Additional Sol icitor General Atmaram Nadkarni, that the court should either stay the cabinet meeting or ask it not take any major decisions till it has decided on appeals against the Madras High Court order.

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05 Jun 2019