Privilege motion moved against Attorney General Khambata

Affidavit saying Governor’s rulings not binding on government rocks house

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Updated: April 17, 2014 10:40 am

A united opposition on Thursday accused the state government of undermining the constitutional authority of the Governor. Citing an affidavit in the HC by state Attorney General Darius Khambata saying the Governor’s rulings were not binding on the government,BJP (MLA) Devendra Fadnavis termed it as constitutional impropriety and moved a breach of privilege motion against Khambata.

After the matter was raised in the Assembly there was an uproar forcing adjournment of the House.

The Attorney General’s affidavit was in response to a petition filed by Indiabulls,which is setting up a 2,640-MW thermal power station in Amravati district of Vidarbha,challenging the interpretation of the Governor’s powers to ensure equitable development of the state.

The Attorney General in his affidavit is supposed to have said the Governor’s directives on equitable allocation of funds to all regions,under Article 371(2) of the Constitution,were not binding on the government. “Any reference to targets,deadlines or objectives of physical work or elimination of physical backlog even if couched as directives by Governor or any aspect of governance is given the highest respect by the government and will be adhered to if possible but is not binding directive or decision under 371(2),” the affidavit stated.

Fadnavis said,“The Attorney General violated the special privileges of both Houses by his affidavit taking a view contrary to what had been unanimously adopted by the Legislature.”

The members demanded that Khambata be summoned in the House to give an explanation on his statement.

Indiabulls had filed the petition as it was facing people’s agitation against its project,mainly on the ground that the project will usurp water from Upper Wardha dam meant for farmers.

A petition had been filed earlier by the Backlog Removal Committee,a citizen’s body,challenging the water supply to the plant. The committee has cited the Governor’s directives to remove Vidarbha’s backlog,which also includes irrigation backlog.

“The Hon’ble Governor has no power or authority to issue directives in the nature and scope as is being interpreted. The petitioner submits that if at all it is a case that such directions have been issued by the Governor to the State Government and its functionaries,it will be a case where the Governor has been wrongly advised that he has powers to do so. Such a situation is not contemplated in a Parliamentary form of democracy. It is submitted that the role of the Governor is only a supervisory role,” Indiabulls had said in its petition. The Indiabulls stand seems to have been validated by the AG.

CM to meet to Attorney General

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said he would speak with the Attorney General to ascertain facts and a meeting will be held on Friday morning. The Congress leaders said the Governor’s role cannot be questioned but NCP said there was nothing unconstitutional in the AG’s affidavit.

Development Boards

The state government had set up Development Boards for backward regions to ensure growth of every region of the state and equitable distribution of financial resources. Special powers under article 371 (2) empowers the Governor to make budgetary allocations for distribution of resources and development.

Man held,cops probe link to Sandhya murder

Crime Branch of Mumbai police who arrested a man,who has been earlier accused in several murder cases, in an illegal arms case on Thursday are probing his link to the Sandhya Singh murder case. Crime Branch sources on Thursday confirmed his arrest and said he was being probed in the Sandhya Singh murder.

“We arrested Mankhurd resident Arif Mehdi Hassan,an autorickshaw driver,in connection with an illegal arms case on Thursday. He has been driving an autorickshaw in Nerul for several months and we are interrogating him to check if he is involved in the Sandhya Singh murder,” a crime branch officer said.

The officer added that Hassan hadearlier been arrested in a couple of murder cases,allegedly contract killings. “The fact that he has been arrested for contract killings in the past,and that he was working in Navi Mumbai for at least the last seven months points the finger of suspicion at him,” the officer said.

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