Puducherry municipal commissioner resumes duty on LG Bedi’s “instructions”
Puducherry: A senior civil service officer, whose replacement has triggered a confrontation between the government and Lt Governor Kiran Bedi in the Union territory, today rejoined his duties on her instructions.
R Chandrasekaran resumed teh post of Puducherry municipal commissioner, complying with the instructions of Bedi who has declared Chief Secretary Manoj Parida’s March 30 order replacing the officer as ‘invalid’.
The officer was removed from the post on an order by state assembly Speaker V Vaithilingam over a privilege motion raised by opposition AIADMK.
Virtually questioning the Lt Governor’s contention that she alone has the powers to appoint UT officials, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy had yesterday asserted that the Speaker’s order was final on Chandrasekaran’s removal.
Sticking to her guns, Bedi, however, said if the chief minister and his ministers had anything to say on the issue, they were free to approach the Central government or the courts to seek clarification on lieutenant governor’s powers.
Chandrasekaran was placed under compulsory wait on March 30 and Art and Culture Director S Ganesan was given additional charge as municipal commissioner, which he promptly took over the same evening.
Lt Governor (LG) Bedi, who was out of the stationon the fateful day, however, tookstrong exception to Chandrasekaran’s replacement and declared chief secretary’s transfer order as “invalid.”
“The order of the transfer of municipal commissioner of Puducherry is not a small administrative routine matter. It pertains to an officer appointed by the LG who could be removed only by the LG,” she had said in a release.
Bedi also directed Chandrasekaran through a note “to continue to perform the duties of commissioner,” following which he assumed the charges of municipal commissioner again.
Ganesan, who had been given the additional charge, also came to the office, but with Chandrasekaran resuming his duties, he left for the secretariat.
Ganesan told reporters that he would seek clarification from the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms which had given him the additional charge.
When reporters sought Speaker Vaithilingam’s response, he said he was yet to get “official information about the latest development on Chandrasekaran resuming the post.”
He said his ruling for replacement of the commissioner must be adhered to.
Official sources told PTI that Chandrasekaran had apprised the LG after assuming office as commissioner.
PWD and Local Administration Minister A Namassivayam, meanwhile, said it was wrong to say that the LG has unbridled and unlimited powers.
“There is a clear demarcation of 13 subjects over which alone the LG can exercise powers,” he said.
He claimed the LG “does not have powers” to intervene in the Local Administration Department.
Bedi, a BJP leader, assumed office of Lt Governor in May last year and has been at loggerheads with the government on some issues, including the one over her ‘Clean Puducherry’ mission to which she allegedly faced “lack of cooperation.”
Once, she had even threatened to quit and leave the UT if there was no improvement in the situation.