BJP nominated MLAs attend Pondy Territorial Assembly

File photo of the 3 MLAs sitting in protest in front of the Assembly.

Puducherry: The stand-off between Lt Governor Kiran Bedi and the government over allowing the three BJP nominated MLAs to attend the Territorial Assembly today, when it has been reconvened to pass the crucial Appropriation Bill 2018, ended with the Speaker granting permission.

The three BJP MLAs, V Saminathan, K G Shankar and S Selva Ganapathy, attended the Assembly today and met Chief Minister V Narayanasamy. 

Following this development, the Appropriation Bill, which had been cleared by the Lt Governor 21 July with a rider that these MLAs be allowed to attend the House proceedings, was passed unanimously.

Secretary to the Assembly, A Vincent Rayar, told PTI that the Speaker, V Vaithilingam, had granted the nominated MLAs permission to participate in the proceedings and that they had been informed of it through separate letters.

He said the letters, informing the MLAs of the green light given by the Speaker for their participation, was delivered through a special messenger at their homes.

The session was reconvened by the Speaker to introduce and adopt the Appropriation Bill 2018, which would mean adoption of the Rs 7,635 crore budget the Chief Minister had placed on the table of the House 2 July.

Pondy Territorial Assembly

A release from Vincent Rayar yesterday said the House has been reconvened to meet 9.30 am today. The release did not mention the agenda.

The Territorial Assembly was adjourned sine die 19 July after a 13-day budget session with the government unable to introduce the Appropriation Bill, which authorises withdrawal from the consolidated fund to meet expenditure of various departments, for want of clearance from Bedi then.

The Chief Minister had then accused the Lt Governor of deliberately withholding approval for the bill.

However, Bedi cleared the bill 21 July with the rider that the three nominated MLAs, whose appointment has been challenged by Congress leaders in the Supreme Court, be allowed to attend the Assembly proceedings as per an interim order of the apex court.

The Congress government has opposed the appointment of the three BJP functionaries as MLAs by the Centre on the ground that it was not consulted.

Though Bedi had inducted them as MLAs 4 July last year in the Raj Nivas, Speaker Vaithilingam has refused to recognise them as legislators, saying they were not nominated by the competent authority.

After the House adjourned sine die without adopting the appropriation bill, apprehension surfaced among the government staff and pensioners on whether they would be able to get the July salary and pension as usual on the last working day of the month.

However, salary and pension were disbursed yesterday after the Finance Department directed the Directorate of Accounts and Treasuries to admit pay and pension bills.

The Lt Governor had conveyed on July 21 her assent to the Assembly for introducing and adopting the Appropriation Bill, subject to the condition that the three nominated MLAs were permitted to attend and participate in the proceedings of the House.

The Supreme Court, while refusing to stay a Madras High Court order upholding their nomination, had 19 July asked the Speaker to allow the three nominated BJP men to function as MLAs.

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