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Kiran Bedi Says CM Making Incorrect Statements on State Election Commissioner's Appointment

File photo of Lt Governor of Puducherry Kiran Bedi. (Image: Reuters)

File photo of Lt Governor of Puducherry Kiran Bedi. (Image: Reuters)

In the wake of the Speaker's ruling, the government appointed a former IAS officer of the territorial government TM Balakrishnan as the SEC whose post was vacant for some years.

Puducherry: Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry Kiran Bedi on Thursday said the territoral Chief Minister V Narayanasamy was issuing allegedly incorrect statements by saying she has no authority to appoint or quash the appointment ofthe state election commissioner (SEC).

The Chief Minister had said at a press conference on Wednesday that neither the Lieutenant Governor nor the Union Home Ministry has any power to cancel the appointment of the the SEC to conduct the civic polls.

"The appointment is fait accompli," he had said.

The Chief Minister had said theSECwas appointed by the government in July last year through a notification issued as per the then directions of the Speaker on the floor of the House in response to a plea by members belonging to both the ruling and opposition parties.

In the wake of the Speaker's ruling, the government appointed a former IAS officer of the territorial government TM Balakrishnan as the SEC whose post was vacant for some years.

The official also assumed office the same month.

Bedi, however, reiterated in a statement in her whatsapp message on Thursday that the Union Home Ministry had issued an order on December 20 last year directing the Chief Secretary of territorial government to select the SEC through a transparent, competitive and fair process by calling for applications for the appointment through an all-India newspaper advertisement.

She pointed out in her message that the Home Ministry had also stated that the selection of the incumbent to the post of SEC should be done by an exclusive selection committee headed by the Chief Secretary for timely completion of election process.

The former IPS officer, with whom the Chief Minister has been at loggerheads on several administrative issues ever since she assumed office, said the Home Ministry had stated that the composition and terms of reference of the Selection Committee for the appointment of the SECmay be finalised by the Lieutenant Governor of the Union Territory.

She said the relevant law on the appointment of the SEC and the directions of the Home Ministry in selection of the official were being followed.

The public statements of the Chief Minister that the Lieutenant Governor had no authority to appoint or cancel the posting of the SEC were factually incorrect.

"It is my duty to apprise the people of the correct legal and administrative facts to enable them to demand conduct of civic polls which have not been held for nearly a decade now," she said.

Bedi said the Supreme Court had delivered a judgment on May 8, 2018 on a civil appeal 'directing the territorial government to notify election to municipalities and other panchayats in the Union Territory without delay. On no account the election process should be stalled after the delimitation of the wards is completed.'

She called for compliance with this by all concerned and reiterated: 'What is being done by government of India and the Lieutenant Governor is as per the law and also directions of the Supreme Court.'

For want of elected civic bodies, people of the Union Territory have been deprived of central funds meant for the local bodies, she added.

first published:January 02, 2020, 19:20 IST