Article 239A allows greater powers for Puducherry House

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Madras High Court has ruled that the Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) of Puducherry cannot interfere in the day-to-day administration of the Union Territory when there is an elected government. The court said incessant interference from the L-G would amount to running a “parallel government.”

Key observations made by the court:

  • The Central government as well as the Administrator [the term used in the Constitution to refer to the L-G] should be true to the concept of democratic principles. Otherwise, the constitutional scheme of the country of being democratic and republic would be defeated.”
  • The judge made it clear that government secretaries were bound to take instructions from the Ministers and the Council of Ministers, headed by the Chief Minister.
  • High Court pointed out the significant differences in the powers conferred on the legislatures of Puducherry and Delhi under Articles 239A and 239AA of the Constitution.
  •  Justice Mahadevan said though Article 239AA imposes several restrictions on the legislature of Delhi, no such restrictions had been imposed explicitly in the case of Puducherry under Article 239A.

Article 239A

  • Constitution (Fourteenth Amendment) Act, 1962 added Article 239A to the Indian Constitution which provides that Parliament may by law create Legislature having Council of Ministers for the UT of Puducherry.
  • Accordingly, Parliament enacted the Government of Union Territories Act, 1963.
  • Section 44 of the Act – Council of Minister – There shall be a Council of Ministers in each Union territory with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Administrator in the exercise of his functions who shall act in his/her discretion only in so far as any special responsibilities were concerned.

 

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