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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Nomination of 12 MLCs: Governor hasn’t respected cabinet recommendation yet: Maharashtra govt tells HC

The state government said that while the Governor was duty-bound to make nominations “strictly based on the advice of the council of ministers”, he “has not respected” the recommendation and caused a delay, depriving citizens of benefits of such persons for “healthy democracy” and to maintain “rich traditions”.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: July 13, 2021 11:37:06 am
The HC has sought to know from the petitioner as to whether it could intervene and the judicial review was possible in the present case. HC will hear the matter on Friday.

The Maharashtra government on Monday told the Bombay High Court that it has still not received any response from Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on the November 6, 2020, recommendation by the Council of Ministers for the nomination of 12 members to the State Legislative Council (MLC).

The state government said that while the Governor was duty-bound to make nominations “strictly based on the advice of the council of ministers”, he “has not respected” the recommendation and caused a delay, depriving citizens of benefits of such persons for “healthy democracy” and to maintain “rich traditions”.

The list submitted by the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in November last year included the names of Eknath Khadse, Raju Shetti, Yashpal Bhinge and Anand Shinde from the NCP; Rajni Patil, Sachin Sawant, Muzaffar Hussain and Anniruddha Vankar from the Congress; and Urmila Matondkar, Nitin Bangude-Patil, Vijay Karanjkar and Chandrakant Raghuvanshi from the Shiv Sena.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) file by Nashik-resident Ratan Soli Luth alleging the Governor had acted in “breach of” of constitutional provisions by failing to make nominations and the same was “arbitrary, malafide and deprived (the) legislative council of the benefit of such nominees having special knowledge in various fields”.

Senior counsel Aspi Chinoy, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that though the governor cannot be made a party to the case, his actions and inactions are a matter of “judicial review”, which need to be taken in the present case in view of inordinate delay to make a decision.

On May 21, the HC vacation bench had found “substance in petitioner’s submissions” and directed the respondents to file their replies. On June 21, the state government filed its affidavit through Satish Waghole, secretary of Parliamentary Affairs department, which said though the reliefs were not directly sought against it, it submitted factual and legal positions as per records in its possession.

The government said the positions of 12 previously nominated members had ended due to “efflux of time” and they became vacant by June 15 last year. The affidavit stated, “These positions remained vacant for considerable time… Even larger public interest required that the benefit of the special knowledge and practical experience of such persons become available to the citizenry at the earliest…

“It appears that despite the legal position holding the field, till date the governor has not respected the aid and advice of the council of ministers and has not acted on it. In fact, the office of the affiant has not received any communication in this regard from the office of governor.”

Senior counsel Rafiq Dada, representing the state government, also submitted that as per Constitutional provisions, the Governor can either accept or reject such recommendation, but there cannot be a “third illusionary and non-existent option”.

The HC has sought to know from the petitioner as to whether it could intervene and the judicial review was possible in the present case. HC will hear the matter on Friday.

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