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Kiran Bedi says Chief Secretary’s conduct ‘irresponsible’

Puducherry: Continuing the war of words with the government over replacing a senior civil service officer, Lt Governor Kiran Bedi today said the Chief Secretary’s “irresponsible” conduct on the issue had brought huge anguish and rift in governance in Puducherry.

“The irresponsible and immature conduct of the Chief Secretary has brought huge anguish and rift in the governance of Puducherry,” she tweeted.

She alsosaidthe Chief Secretary had played an “unprofessional and irregular roleof hounding an officer despite directions and rules”.

R Chandrasekharan had been removed from the post of Puducherry Municipal Commissioner on an order by Speaker V Vaithilingam over a privilege motion raised by opposition AIADMK.

He had, however, resumed the post, complying with the instructions of Bedi, who had declared Chief Secretary Manoj Parida’s March 30 order replacing the officer as “invalid”.

Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, who virtually questioned the Lt Governor’s contention that she alone has the powers to appoint UT officials, had on April 2 asserted that the Speaker’s order was final on Chandrasekaran’s removal.

Bedi had, however, said if the CM and his ministers had anything to say on the issue, they were free to approach the central government or the courts to seek clarification on lieutenant governor’s powers.

Chandrasekaran had been placed under compulsory wait on March 30 and Art and Culture Director S Ganesan was given additional charge as municipal commissioner, which he promptly took over the same evening.

Bedi, who was out of the stationon that day, had taken tookstrong exception to Chandrasekaran’s replacement and declared Parida’s order as “invalid.”

“The order of the transfer of municipal commissioner of Puducherry is not a small administrative routine matter. It pertains to an officer appointed by the LG who could be removed only by the LG,” she had said in a release.

Bedi also directed Chandrasekaran through a note “to continue to perform the duties of commissioner,” following which he assumed the charges of municipal commissioner again.

Yesterday, a joint meeting of leaders and MLAs of Congress, DMK, opposition AIADMK (Amma) and other parties had resolved to send an all-party delegation to meet the President, the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister to apprise them of the political situation arising out of rejection of transfer of a senior civil service official by Lt Governor Bedi.

The meeting had described Bedi’s style of functioning as being “in contravention of the constitutional prescriptions and democratic norms.”

Meanwhile, the Lt Governor’s Secretary Theva Needhi Das appeared before the Privilege Committeein response to its April 3 summons in a case of ‘contempt of the House’ for ‘abetting’ Chandrasekaran to resume office, though the Speaker ruled he was removed from post and kept under compulsory wait.

The Speaker’s ruling was delivered on March 30 during a debate by members of ruling and opposition, who brought to his notice complaints against Chandrasekaran, including one relating to breach of privilege of an elected legislator.

Parliamentary Secretary to CM K Lakshminarayanan, one of five members of the committee, told reporters that Das was given copies of the complaintand documents received from the Speaker at the hearing and to give his explanation before April 19.

He said there was prima facie case against Das for initiating action for “contempt of the House”.

Meanwhile,Chandrasekaran has been asked to appear before the Committee tomorrow on the issueof breach of privilege given notice of by opposition AIADMK (Amma) legislator A Baskar.
PTI