Facing flak from the Congress for nominating three MLAs to Puducherry Assembly, Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi today defended her decision saying that she is well within her rights to do so. Bedi took to Twitter to justify her action and cited provisions of the Government of Union Territories Act, 1963 in this regard.
"Here is the Law under which 3 MLAs were nominated by GOI (Government of India) and I as an LG (Lt. Governor) administered the Oath," Bedi said in a tweet.
One of the provisions cited by her said that three members can take oath before the LG or a person appointed by him/her for the purpose.
"Since when is application of Law a 'murder of democracy'? See the law. Central government has the power to Nominate and LG has the power of oath giving..!," Bedi added.
"I am an agent of law, I am working according to that. Cabinet came to me asking why are you meeting people? Why solving civic problems? They said you are supposed to be a rubber stamp," she told reporters.
'Bedi's decision unconstitutional'
The controversy over nomination of three MLAs in Puducherry snowballed on Thursday with the Congress party attacking the decision as unconstitutional. Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said in New Delhi that Bedi has been at loggerheads with Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy and the elected Congress government from the beginning.
He said the appointment of three MLAs -- V. Saminathan, President of the Puducherry BJP unit, party Treasurer K.G. Shankar and educationist S. Selva Ganapathy -- has been done without consulting the Chief Minister.
Even in Parliament the President nominates members on the basis of the recommendation by the central government, he said.
'Bedi functioning as BJP agent'
Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Wednesday termed Bedi's decision as "murder of democracy" and accused her of working like a "BJP
Narayanasamy hit out at Bedi for "committing mayhem of democracy by secretly inducting last night three members as nominated legislators." He told reporters here that the induction of the three members with "utmost speed and secrecy betrayed the intention of the BJP and the lieutenant governor to act in utter violation of the statutory procedures."
The lieutenant governor "is also functioning like an agent of the Bharatiya Janata party," he said.
Narayanasamy said there is a speaker and an elected assembly and the induction of the members should be done only by the speaker. But Bedi had administered the oath "causing a murder of democracy. This act of the lieutenant governor deserves to be condemned in strongest terms," he said.
HC issues notice to Centre
The Madras High Court yesterday sought the Centre's stand on a plea by ruling Congress MLA, seeking to quash a notification nominating three members to the Puducherry assembly. The bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar sought the Centre's stand, issuing notices to joint secretary (Home) and also to the three nominated MLAs.
The bench issued the notices on a petition filed by Congress MLA K Lakshminarayanan, seeking to make the newly nominated MLAs and Union Home Ministry officials as parties to his petition filed earlier for annulment of the notification.
After issuing notices, the court posted the matter for hearing after a week.