Speaker consulting experts

Speaker V. Vaithilingam is consulting legal experts on the implications of Thursday’s Supreme Court order on the issue of nominated MLAs.

The Supreme Court, while hearing a petition challenging the Madras High Court order upholding the appointment of three BJP leaders V. Swaminathan, K.G. Shankar and S. Selvaganapathy by the Centre, had refused to stay the order issued by the lower court.

Fiat or observation?

A source in the government said the Speaker and the Chief Minister were consulting legal experts to ascertain whether the court order amounted to a direction or whether it was an observation pending a final ruling.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Chief Minister and one of the petitioners K. Lakshminarayanan told
The Hindu
that a reading of the Supreme Court order implied that it was left to the discretion of the Speaker and Legislative Assembly to admit the three members since it had not stayed the proceedings of the Madras High Court. Quoting the Supreme Court order, Mr. Lakshminarayanan said the highest court had said: “as there is no stay of that order, we expect the Legislative Assembly and the Speaker to allow the three MLAs to function as such and attend/participate in the proceedings.” This gave an impression that the Supreme Court had left it to the discretion to the Speaker and the Assembly on admitting the BJP leaders, he said.

“As a constitutional head, he will take appropriate decision after taking the House into confidence. The judiciary and the legislature are the two pillars of democracy,” he said.

Bedi terms it a victory

Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi, one of the first leaders to react to the Supreme Court ruling, had posted a message in WhatsApp suggesting victory of democracy.

“The order of the Honourable Supreme Court, enhances the democratic strength in serving the people of Puducherry. Thanks to the judiciary,” the message said. Ms Bedi, who had administered the oath to the BJP members after the Centre nominated them, had been pushing the government and Speaker to induct the members into the 30-member House.

Mr. Swaminathan said the Speaker should respect the order issued by the Supreme Court and provide them all facilities given to legislators. Instead of entering into a confrontation, the Speaker should admit them as nominated members, he said.

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