NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to stay the Madras High Court order upholding the Centre’s decision to nominate three BJP members as MLAs to Puducherry Assembly.
The apex court asked the speaker of Puducherry Assembly to allow the nominated members to function as MLAs till the adjudication of petition.
A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan issued notice to the Centre and the Puducherry government seeking their response on the plea.
The order came on pleas filed by Congress leaders, who had challenged the Madras High Court order and the Centre’s decision to unilaterally appoint BJP members as MLAs.
The High Court on March 22 upheld the nomination of three BJP members to the assembly by the Centre and their swearing-in by Lt Governor Kiran Bedi, over which the Congress government had protested.
The High Court had ruled that an administrator of a Union Territory has powers to act irrespective of the advice of the Council of Ministers and held as invalid the Speaker’s order cancelling the nominations of the MLAs namely V.Saminathan, K.G. Shankar and S. Selvaganapathy who were sworn-in as MLAs by Bedi on July 4 last year.
The nominated BJP members later alleged that they were prevented by policemen, posted inside and outside the Assembly premises, from entering the House even after the High Court order.
During the hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Congress leaders told the bench, “We are under the federal structure of governance and their is a concept of co-operative federal structures. Despite the Constitutional scheme and there being an elected government in the Union Territory can the central government nominate members to the Assembly without consultation. That government is not consulted nor apprised of the appointment. They say that the elected government need not to be consulted.”
Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said Puducherry is a territory of the Union of India and has no autonomy and said, “It is the central government, which exercises control through its representative or administrator. The Centre can even ask neighbouring states to exercise control over the Union Territory (UT).”
The bench said that there are arguments from both sides and the issue needs authoritative pronouncements and will be dealt after detailed hearing.