SC extends restriction on Pondy govt financial powers till 10 July

Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today extended its earlier order till 10 July, restraining the Puducherry government from implementing any Cabinet decisions having financial implications.

A vacation bench of justices Deepak Gupta and Surya Kant said the issue requires to be heard at length and, therefore, it is listing the plea before a regular bench.

The Puducherry government told the apex court that it has taken three Cabinet decisions, which include distribution of free rice to all ration card-holders, renaming a department and auctioning of a sick factory.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Puducherry government, said of the three decisions, free distribution of rice to all ration card-holders can be allowed as the scheme has been running for the past 10 years.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Lt Governor Kiran Bedi, said the scheme cannot be allowed as it will be a modification of the earlier order and has huge financial implications.

He said earlier free rice was distributed to only BPL (below poverty line) card-holders but now the Puducherry government has a populist move and wants to give free rice to all ration card-holders.

The top court had 4 June directed the Puducherry government, led by Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, who is at loggerheads with Bedi, not to implement any decision having financial implications.

The application filed by the Centre and Bedi had sought a direction for restoring the situation prevailing before the 30 April Madras High Court verdict which held that the LG “cannot interfere” in the day-to-day affairs of the elected government in the Union Territory.