Hardening her stand in an ongoing row with the Congress government in Puducherry, Lt Governor Kiran Bedi today recommended to the Union Home Ministry to transfer the Chief Secretary and initiate disciplinary action against him for "gross violation" of service rules.
Bedi's action against Chief Secretary Manoj Parida came after he allegedly did not comply with her directive to not execute a ruling by the Assembly speaker to relieve Puducherry municipal commissioner R Chandrasekaran of his duties without her approval.
In fast-paced developments, the Committee on Privileges of the Assembly issued contempt notices to G Theva Neethi Dhas, Secretary to the Lt Governor for "abetting" Chandrasekaran to continue in his position despite Assembly Speaker V Vaithilingam issued a ruling in the House for his removal.
On March 30, Neethi Dhas had written to the Chief Secretary not to transfer the municipal commissioner without Bedi's approval who is the competent authority to on service matters. Dhas had also conveyed to Parida that Bedi was travelling and the matter can be taken up with her on April 3.
Bedi's office said the transfer order was served on Chandrasekaran at 11 PM on Saturday by the Chief Secretary in "defiance" of the LG's order and notwithstanding communication from Dhas.
"The Chief Secretary has severely violated rules. I have recommended to the Home Ministry to immediately transfer him and take disciplinary action against him. The LG is the authority to decide on service matters. He violated administrative responsibility," Bedi told PTI.
Chief Minister V Narayanasamy has been backing Parida. Bedi has been at the loggerheads with Narayanasamy on a range of issues.
The Speaker had ordered removal of the municipal commissioner after an MLA moved a privilege motion against him, alleging the official was not responding to various key public issues raised by him.
Bedi had met the Union Home Secretary last week concerning the transfer order issued to Chandrashekhar without her approval as "mandated under the rules".
She had also directed Chandrashekhar to continue to serve in his current responsibilities, holding the transfer order "invalid".
The Puducherry Lt Governor also criticised the contempt notices served on her secretary by the Privileges Committee of the House, wondering how individual officers will function under political pressure.
Bedi said the whole controversy could have been avoided if the Chief Secretary had followed the rules as final powers in all service matters lie with the Lt Governor.
A delegation of political leaders will soon meet the President, the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to apprise them of the political situation arising out of rejection of transfer of a senior civil service official by Lt Governor Kiran Bedi
The decision was taken at a joint meeting of leaders and MLAs of Congress, DMK, the opposition AIADMK (Amma) and other parties here Tuesday
Speaking to reporters, PWD Minister and PCC president A Namassivayam, who presided over the meeting, said a resolution to this effect was adopted at the meeting
The meeting described the style of functioning of Bedi?as being "in contravention of the constitutional prescriptions and democratic norms", he said
The date of the delegation's visit is to be decided soon.