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In SC’s Delhi verdict, Puducherry has not much to cheer about

By Oneindia Staff Writer
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    New Delhi, July 5: The Supreme Court clarified that Puducherry cannot be compared with the case of Delhi as it is governed by a provision which is different from that concerning the national capital.The top court said that the case of Puducherry even stood on a different footing from the Union Territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Lakshadweep and Chandigarh.

    In SC’s Delhi verdict, Puducherry has not much to cheer about

    It said that Puducherry was covered under Article 239A whereas NCT of Delhi is covered under Article 239AA.

    Interestingly, Puducherry chief minister V Narayanasamy, who is enaged in a running feud with LG Kiran Bedi, had hailed the apex court verdict saying it was "totally applicable" to the southern Union Territory too.

    The veteran Congress leader has also warned that he would file a contempt petition if the Lt Governor failed to act in accordance with the apex court verdict.

    A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra analysed the provisions of Article 239A which governs Puducherry.

    Highlighting the difference between Delhi and Puducherry, the bench held "At the outset, we must declare that the insertion of Articles 239AA and 239AB which specifically pertain to NCT of Delhi is reflective of the intention of the

    Parliament to accord Delhi a sui generis status from the other Union Territories as well as from the Union Territory of Puducherry to which Article 239A is singularly applicable as on date".

    With regard to Puducherry, the bench said that Article 239A gives the discretion to Parliament to create a Council of Ministers and/or a body which may either be wholly elected or partly elected and partly nominated to perform the functions of a legislature.

    It said that the Article was brought into force by the Constitution (14th Amendment) Act, 1962. Prior to 1971, under Article 239A, Parliament had the power to create legislatures or Council of Ministers for the then Union territories of Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Manipur, Goa and Daman and Diu.

    "On January 25, 1971, Himachal Pradesh acquired statehood and consequently, was omitted from Article 239A. Subsequently, on January 21, 1972, Tripura and Manipur were granted statehood as a consequence of which both

    Manipur and Tripura were omitted from Article 239A", the bench, also comprising Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, said.

    Similarly with the enactment for Goa, Daman and Diu Reorganisation Act on May 30, 1987, both Goa and Daman and Diu were also omitted from scheme of Article 239A.

    "Parliament, under the Government of Union Territories Act, 1963, created legislatures for the then Union Territories and accordingly, even after May 30, 1987, the applicability of Article 239A stands limited to UT of Puducherry," it said.

    The bench said as a natural corollary, the Union Territory of Puducherry stands on a different footing from other UTs.

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