Role of Lieutenant Governor and elected government intertwined, rules Madras High Court

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News:The Madras High Court has set aside its earlier order and held that the role of Puducherry’s Lieutenant Governor(L-G) and elected government in the UT were intertwined as per law and they were expected to act in unison and not in division.

Facts:

About the Union Territory of Puducherry:

  • Government of Union Territories Act, 1963 provides for a Legislative Assembly of Pondicherry with a Council of Ministers to govern the Union Territory of Pondicherry.
  • It states that the UT will be administered by the President of India through an Administrator (Lieutenant Governor).

Powers and sources of LG of Puducherry:

Discretion:

  • Section 44 of the Union Territories Act,1963 allows the LG to act in his discretion in the matter of lawmaking even though the Council of Ministers has the task of aiding and advising him. 
  • In case of a difference of opinion between the LG and his Ministers on any matter, the Administrator is bound to refer it to the President for a decision and act according to the decision given by the President. 
  • However, the Administrator can also claim that the matter is urgent, and take immediate action as he deems necessary.

Mandatory Prior sanction:

  • Section 22 of the Act provides for prior sanction of the Administrator for certain legislative proposals. 
  • These include Bills or amendments that the Council of Ministers intends to move in the Legislative Assembly and which deals with the Judicial Commissioner with respect to any of the matters in the State List or the Concurrent List.

Obligatory provisions

  • Section 23 of the Act also makes it obligatory on the part of the UT government to seek the recommendation of the LG before moving a Bill or an amendment to provide for the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax or the amendment of the law with respect to any financial obligations undertaken or anything that has to do with the Consolidated Fund of the UT.

Veto powers:

  • Once the Assembly has passed a Bill, the LG can either grant or withhold his assent; or reserve it for the consideration of the President. He can also send it back to the Assembly for reconsideration.