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Bombay HC makes Centre party to PIL on Governor’s delay in nominating MLCs

The court said the central government should be added as a party to assist it in clarifying whether the governor was duty-bound by the state cabinet’s proposal or he could exercise his discretion to not nominate.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: July 17, 2021 1:03:46 am
“We would like to know what happens when there is inaction by the governor,” the court said and posted the matter for further hearing on July 19. (File photo)

The Bombay High Court on Friday impleaded the Union government as a party respondent in the plea after it was informed that Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had not acted as per the constitutional mandate to nominate 12 persons to the Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) as per the advice of the council of ministers and the government business rules.

The court said the central government should be added as a party to assist it in clarifying whether the governor was duty-bound by the state cabinet’s proposal or he could exercise his discretion to not nominate.

The directive was issued by the division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni during the hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Nashik-resident Ratan Soli Luth seeking a direction to the governor to decide on the state government recommending 12 names in November last year.

The bench observed that the present petition may have some “repercussions” on other provisions of the constitution. Therefore, it found it “fit and proper” to hear the Central government address the question “as to whether any discretion was available to the governor not to nominate MLCs on the aid and advice of the council of ministers”.

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

The state government also told the HC that the governor had “no other option available” to him as per the constitution and he “ought to accept” the recommendation by the MLCs to nominate 12 persons as the council of ministers “even in a normal situation, irrespective of political issues” he may or may not have with the chief minister.

“We would like to know what happens when there is inaction by the governor,” the court said and posted the matter for further hearing on July 19.

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