The case of Puducherry, a Union Territory with an elected chief minister, is somewhat ambivalent.
In a ruling that will clear up a great deal of confrontational politics in the Union Territory of Puducherry, the Supreme Court has upheld the validity of the appointment of three nominated MLAs. The Assembly Speaker had refused to acknowledge the appointment of the MLAs from the BJP — V. Saminathan, K.G. Shankar and S. Selvaganapathy — that was made by the lieutenant-governor of Puducherry on July 4, 2017. The House played ducks and drakes for a year and a half as the Speaker prohibited the entry of the MLAs even as an appeal was being heard by the top court. Surely, it would have stood to reason that since the Madras high court had ruled that the appointment as valid the legislators would have been allowed to function. But Indian politics does not play that way.
The Centre’s argument that a Union Territory is the “property” of the Union government and hence there was no need to consult the local government on the appointment was accepted by the Supreme Court as valid. In the absence of any provisions in the laws, this may be the legally correct position. The case of Puducherry, a Union Territory with an elected chief minister, is somewhat ambivalent. Confrontations took place between the Speaker and the L-G because they come from different ends of the political spectrum. However, the court has upheld the right of the Union to act without needing to consult the local Cabinet. The courts tend to tread carefully in the Speaker’s territory, but it is only right that the will of the Union be considered superior in this particular setting of a Union Territory.