Puducherry Assembly| Concurrence of CM not required for Center to nominate member to Legislative Assembly of UTs

Supreme Court: A Bench comprising of A.K. Sikri, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer, JJ. dismissed a set of appeals filed against the judgment of Madras High Court whereby it had dismissed writ petitions filed by the appellants challenging the nominations made by the Central Government to Legislative Assembly of Union Territory of Puducherry.

The Central Government had nominated three members to the Legislative Assembly in the exercise of its power under Section 3(3) of the Government of Union Territories Act, 1963. Main grievance of the petitioners (appellants herein) was that the nominations should have been made by the Central Government after consultation and on the advice of the Council of Ministers of Puducherry.

Certain issues were framed before the Supreme Court which delivered its decision after considering various points. The conclusion of the Court on each point is delineated hereinafter:

1. Whether the expression “Central Government” in Section 3(3) means the Administrator?

-The definition of Central Government given in Section 3(3) of the Act is an exhaustive definition. In the present case, the definition of Central Government, as occurring in Section 3(3) has to be read as to mean “the President” and not the Administrator.

2. Whether the nomination in the Legislative Assembly of the Puducherry is the business of the Government to be transacted in accordance with the Rules of Business of the Government of Puducherry, 1963?

-Nomination in Legislative Assembly of Puducherry is not business of the Government of Puducherry. It is a business of Central Government as per Section 3(3) to be carried out in accordance with the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 and Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961.

3. Whether nomination by Central Government in the Legislative Assembly without concurrence of Government of
UT of Puducherry violates principles of Federalism?

-Article 239-A of the Constitution with regard to UT of Puducherry itself envisages the constitution of legislative body partly by nomination and partly by election. Thus, there is no breach of federal principles.

4. Whether nomination by the Central Government can only be made with the concurrence of the Government of Puducherry?

-The Court did not find any established practice or convention to the fact that names for nominations to members of the Legislative Assembly has to emanate from Chief Minister and can be made by the Central Government only after concurrence of CM.

5.Whether recommendations made by Madras High Court in Para 5 of the impugned judgment are unsustainable and not in accordance with the law?

-The recommendations contained in Para 5 are nothing but recommendations to Parliament to frame legislation on various aspects as enumerated therein. There being already Rules of Business for carrying out the functions by Central Government as per Article 77(3) of the Constitution, there was no justification for making the recommendations. In result, all recommendations made in Para 5 of the impugned judgment were set aside.

6. Whether the members in Legislative Assembly shall have no voting right in two matters, i.e.,

 (i) budget and (ii) no-confidence motion against the Government?

-Section 12(1) of the Act provides that “all questions” at any sitting of the Legislative Assembly of the UT shall be determined by a majority of votes of the members “present and voting” other than the Speaker or person acting as such. When the expression used is votes of members present, obviously the members of the Assembly both elected and the nominated person has to be counted. Nominated members are not prohibited from voting.

Resultantly, the judgment of Madras High Court impugned herein was affirmed except the directions/recommendations made in Para 5. The appeals were, therefore, dismissed. [K. Lakshminarayanan v. Union of India,2018 SCC OnLine SC 2730, decided on 06-12-2018]

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