The Supreme Court verdict on the powers of the Lt. Governor, making it clear that he has no independent power and that he must abide by the Council of Ministers, has come as a relief to the people of Delhi and Puducherry who have suffered due to the LT Governor blocking various legislations and welfare measures of the elected governments.
It was not as if the stand of the Supreme Court was something new. Constitutional experts who had no bias or prejudice were unanimous in their view that the LG was by and large bound by the council of ministers. The Lt Governors were clearly acting at the behest of the PMO which wanted proxy BJP rule through the LG and governors wherever the opposition was in power. It was crystal clear that PM Narendra Modi was aghast over the massive mandate against the BJP in the Delhi Assembly elections and the emphatic victory of AAP and its leader Arvind Kejiwal.
The LGs of Delhi have come in the way of the welfare measures and executive orders passed by the Kejriwal government. Same was the case with Lt Governor of Puducherry who had a running battle with the elected chief minister V Narayanaswamy and his government of the Congress.
Both CMs, Kejriwal and Narayanaswamy, have hailed the SC judgment. Narayanaswamy has pointed out that Kiran Bedi was blocking the steps and measures of the Puducherry government. “We wanted to implement various welfare measures. Kiran Bedi was blocking the measures. She was trying to act on her own bypassing the elected government”, Narayanaswamy says.
The Narayanswamy government in Puducherry had objected to the nomination of three BJP members as Puducherry MLAs which task was normally undertaken by the ruling party in the past. The Speaker had even tried to block their entry to the Assembly. It is said that the nomination appeared to have been cleared at the highest level in the BJP.
The battle cry of federalism versus dictatorship had its echo in various parts of the country when AAP leaders undertook a fast and dharna, which drew support from national opposition leaders like Mamta Banerjee, Chandrababu Naidu and others.
CM Kejriwal, reacting to the judgment, said that in its wake immediate implementation of welfare measures like doorstep delivery ration, provision of CCTV cameras would follow. Dy CM Manish Sisodia said transfer of senior officials would take place as per the orders of the CM. Barring provisions like police, land and order, in all other cases, the LG would have to be merely kept informed of the government’s decisions but his approval was not required, according to the SC.
Narayanaswamy has said that he believed Kiran Bedi would stop encroaching on the powers of the elected government. Even 15 days ago, he had raised the issue at the meeting of CMs with the PM but the BJP government at the Centre ignored his comments.
The people of Puducherry now hope that the welfare measures announced by the government would finally be implemented.
Will the BJP government at the Centre bury the hatchet and allow the elected governments to have a free hand? Will Puducherry finally see the CM and his elected government having his way? If the LGs continued to obstruct the government, the AAP government in Delhi and the Congress government in Puducherry would have no choice but to move contempt petitions in the Supreme Court.