The Puducherry Assembly speaker today rejected the nomination of three BJP members to the House by the Centre, stating that their nomination was void as it was in contravention of the constitutional provisions and made by "incompetent authority". V Saminathan, president of the Puducherry unit of the BJP, party treasurer K G Shankar and party activist and educationist S Sellaganapthy were sworn-in as nominated members of the Assembly by Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi on July 4 after they were nominated to the House by the Centre. Secretary to the Assembly A Vincent Rayar, in a separate communication to the members, informed them of Speaker V Vaitilingam's decision rejecting their nomination. "The Speaker is of the considered view that your nomination was made by the incompetent authority and without jurisdiction and in contravention of the provisions of the Constitution and the Government of Union Territories Act 1963 and hence the nominations are void," the communication said. He also informed them that the speaker felt that just because the oath was administered to them by the Lt Governor did not mean that the speaker has to recognise them as members of the Assembly as their nominations were void. The secretary informed the members that the speaker has rejected their claims that they be provided all facilities as legislators. A copy of the communication was distributed to the media. Bedi administered the oath of office to the three members on the night of July 4 at her office Raj Nivas, triggering protests by the ruling Congress and its alliance partners on July 7, who observed a fast here on that day. They also organised a bandh the next day in protest against the 'arbitrary manner' in which the Centre nominated the members without consulting the territorial government. They contended that the speaker is the constitutional authority to induct the members in the Assembly. TheUnion Home Ministry had announced the nomination of the three to the Assembly through an order in the first week of July. It was notified in the state gazette subsequently. But the speaker then took the stand that there was no communication to his office from "the competent authority" and hence declined to accept the nomination. Meanwhile, a PIL in the Madras High Court by K Lakshminarayana, Parliamentary Secretary to the Chief Minister, against their appointment as nominated legislators, is pending. The new development comes ahead of the monsoon session of the Assembly scheduled from November 23. Bedi, a former IPS officer, has been at loggerheads with the Congress government on many issues, including one relating to admission of students on government quota to post graduate medical courses in deemed universities and private medical colleges here. There are 30 elected members in the Assembly. The ruling Congress has 15 members and its alliance partner DMK has two. In the opposition bloc, All India N.
R. Congress has eight members and the AIADMK (AMMA) has four legislators. There is one Independent legislator.
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