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Puducherry government row reaches court as Bedi’s secretary moves petition

The ongoing row between the Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi and the Congress Government in power has reached the Madras High Court.

Puducherry government row reaches court as Bedi’s secretary moves petition
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Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi

Chennai

The Lt Governor’s secretary, G Theva Neethi Dhas, has moved a plea seeking to quash the contempt notices issued by the Committee on Privileges of the Assembly for ‘abetting’ Chandrasekaran to continue as Commissioner of Puducherry Municipality despite Assembly Speaker V Vaithilingam issuing a ruling in the House for his removal.

Justice M Duraiswamy, before whom the plea came up for hearing on Monday, ordered notice to the Puducherry Government returnable by June 8. Theva Neethi Dhas submitted that by an order dated March 30 last, the Puducherry Chief Secretary had transferred R Chandrasekaran, the Commissioner of Puducherry Municipality. The order was allegedly issued at the instance of the Speaker during the absence of the Lt Governor, who was on an official tour.

But when the matter was taken up with the Lt Governor, she replied through email on the same day to him that the transfer order should not be given effect to. Accordingly, as per the instructions of the Lt Governor, Theva Neethi Dhas wrote to the Chief Secretary to keep the order in abeyance. The Lt Governor had also conveyed to the Chief Secretary that he can discuss the matter on April 3, when she returns and until such time Chandrasekaran should continue in the same post.

However, treating this as abetting the disobedience of his order transferring Chnadrasekaran, the privileges committee issued notice to him to appear on April 5, while another notice was issued asking why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him for not complying with the transfer order.

He contended that merely communicating the orders of the Lt Governor to the Chief Secretary, which he was bound to do, does not amount to contempt of the House.

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