The primacy of the elected

July 10, 2019 | Mathew Idiculla

In the op-ed “The primacy of the elected” in The Hindu, Mathew Idiculla examines the constitutional crisis in Puducherry caused by the tussle between the Lieutenant Governor and the Chief Minister. He argues that the rights of a legislative assembly of a Union Territory should be seen as an integral element of federalism and that the Supreme Court should affirm the primacy of the elected government.


Excerpts from the article:

“Will a “strong” Union government which does not require the support of “regional” allies be detrimental to the interests of States?

Since the appointment of Kiran Bedi as the LG in May 2016, Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy has protested her continual interference in the daily affairs of the Puducherry government and running an alleged parallel administration.

When this was legally challenged, the Madras High Court quashed the clarifications issued by the Union government and ruled that the LG must work on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers and not interfere in the day-to-day affairs of the government. The Union government challenged this decision in the Supreme Courtwhere a vacation Bench passed interim orders recently restricting the Puducherry cabinet from taking key decisions until further hearing.

Ultimately, the question is whether state actions should respect the underlying principles of democracy and federalism. Why should a legislative Assembly be elected and a Council of Ministers appointed if actual powers are independently exercised by an unelected nominee of the Centre? The Supreme Court, in the NCT Delhi case, rightly employed a purposive interpretation of the Constitution to hold that since representative government is a basic feature of the Constitution, the elected government must have primacy.”


Mathew Idiculla, 'The primacy of the elected' (The Hindu, 10 Jul 2019) <> accessed on 21 Jul 2024