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Can nominated MLAs vote in Puducherry House?

“If the government cannot prove that it enjoys the support of a minimum of 16 MLAs, it loses majority and has to bow out of office,” an analyst told Express.

Published: 20th February 2021 05:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th February 2021 05:14 AM   |  A+A-

tamilisai soundararajan

Tamilisai Soundararajan after taking charge as Puducherry governor on Thursday. (Photo | G Pattabiraman, EPS)

Express News Service

PUDUCHERRY: Even as the Puducherry government inches forward to undergo a floor test on Monday, the question in everyone’s mind is if the nominated legislators -- all of whom who belong to the BJP -- would be allowed to vote. The Opposition, including the BJP, is trying all means to stop the Congress from continuing as the caretaker government. This, they say, is necessary to ensure a “free and fair” elections. But, what does the law say about trust voting by nominated legislators?   

“If the government cannot prove that it enjoys the support of a minimum of 16 MLAs, it loses majority and has to bow out of office,” an analyst told Express. “The nominated MLAs, however, are not an integral part of the formation of the Assembly, and hence must not morally participate in the motion.” However, he said that the Ministry of Home Affairs, which nominated them, did not categorise them as BJP legislators. So, technically, they cannot be construed as BJP MLAs. 

“In the absence of an explicit mention, they are required to remain non-partisan,” the analyst added. Interestingly though, L-G Tamilisai Soundararajan on Thursday termed the nominated persons as “BJP members”, causing an uproar in Congress camp. “They may belong to the BJP, but in the House, they are not members of any party,” said government whip RKR Anantharaman. “If they claim to be BJP members, they could get disqualified under the anti-defection law.”

DMK South Convenor R Siva pointed out that the three-member bench of the Supreme Court had ordered in the K Lakshminarayanan v/s the Union of India case on December 6, 2018 that the Centre could nominate three members to the Assembly, but it had not mentioned it as “BJP members.” He further said there was concern that Tamilisai could also function as “a BJP representative like her predecessor Kiran Bedi.” He added, “The fate of an elected government being decided on the basis of voting by nominated MLAs is undemocratic.”    

The BJP, however, disagreed. V Saminathan, a nominated member himself, said that the Supreme Court had ruled that they had voting rights. He then went on to explain why the Congress legislators were jumping ship to the BJP rather than explain about the nominated MLAs stand on Monday. The Chief Minister, meanwhile, said he had written to the L-G, seeking a clarification on her addressing the nominated MLAs as BJP members. 

What the rules say
As per the Section 3 (3) of the  Union territories Act, 1963 , “ The Central government may nominate not more than three persons not  being  persons in the service of government  , to the Legislative Assembly of the UT.” This means that anyone who is not a government employee can be nominated to the Puducherry Assembly.  

This has led to ruling parties  appointing persons from their party or allies as nominated MLAs to fulfil their political obligations. Based on the recommendations of the ruling party, the Ministry of Home Affairs appointed them. However they were not allowed to vote. The  UT act does not specify whether the nominated MLAs have voting rights .

CM on viral video
Responding to the viral video and controversy over translating wrongly a fisherwoman’s remark to Rahul Gandhi, CM V Narayanasamy said the controversy was created by the BJP and those who left the Congress, to tarnish his image. “The woman’s voice was not audible, and since I had visited the region before and after cyclone, I informed our leader accordingly,” he said. 



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