Puducherry Lieutenant Governor welcomes SEC appointment, said local body elections soon

Newly appointed State Election Commissioner Roy P. Thomas calling on Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi, in Puducherry on October 22, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Lt Governor Kiran Bedi on Thursday said with the appointment of State Election Commissioner the Union Territory would soon have panchayat elections.

In a message to media, she said the UT would soon have grassroot democracy. “In 2018, the Supreme Court directed to hold election within four months and sternly warned that no delay can be brooked. The government was committing contempt of court by not holding elections. Vested interests did not want civic body elections and hence cast all obstacles,” she said.

The last local body election was held 10 years ago, she said adding with local self governance in place UT would be eligible to get more Central funds.

“Puducherry is gradually transitioning towards self governance more now with panchayat elections. More funds will come from Government of India. Funds were not coming since we did not have elected bodies,” the Lt Governor said.

The elections would be an opportunity for true social workers and activists who want to see change and transformation, she said.

State Election Commissioner Roy P. Thomas also called on the Lt Governor at Raj Nivas. Secretary Local Administration Jayant Kumar Ray and Officer on Special Duty G. Thevas Neethi Dhas were also present.

SEC appointment “illegal”

Terming the appointment of the State Election Commissioner retired IFS officer Roy P. Thomas as “illegal,” Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy on Thursday said the government has not yet completed the legal process in challenging the initiative taken by Lt Governor in the appointment process of SEC.

“We are in the process of challenging the HC order in the SC. Because of COVID-19 the process got delayed,” Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy told The Hindu.

The Madras High Court had dismissed a writ petition filed by Minister for Local Administration A. Namassivayam challenging the Lieutenant Governor’s decision to reject the nominee of the cabinet for the SEC post. The court had upheld decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Lt Governor to call for advertisement in the SEC selection process.

Mr. Narayanasamy said when the file for Mr Thomas’s appointment came to his office he had questioned the decision. “The appointment was based on a notification which was annulled by the Legislative Assembly. How could the appointment be made on the basis of a notification quashed by the Speaker. I wanted the Legal Department to examine the issue but my concerns were completely ignored. It is a unilateral decision taken after bypassing a democratically elected government,” the Chief Minister said.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 2:27:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/puducherry-lieutenant-governor-welcomes-sec-appointment-said-local-body-elections-soon/article32916530.ece

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