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In U-turn,govt says it’s bound by governor’s directives

ADVOCATE general Darius Khambata Monday told the Bombay high court that the governor’s directives to ensure equitable distribution of resources were binding on the state government.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Updated: April 16, 2014 5:59:59 pm

ADVOCATE general Darius Khambata Monday told the Bombay high court that the governor’s directives to ensure equitable distribution of resources were binding on the state government.

Khambata’s stand,clarified in an affidavit to the court,is aimed to counter BJP MLA Devendra Fadnavis’ allegation that the government was undermining governor’s authority enshrined in article 371(2)(b) of the Constitution.

The advocate general’s first submission,recorded in the high court’s March 2 order,that while the governor’s directives were binding in matters of allocation of financial resources,the relevant legal provision “does not contemplate that the governor would select the project and supervise or monitor implementation of the project” had evoked sharp reactions. The opposition moved a breach of privilege motion against him; governor K Sankaranarayanan met chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to express his disappointment,and even the ruling Congress members from Vidarbha expressed anger against the government for undermining the governor’s authority and demanded a review the stand.

The decision to give special powers to governor under article 371(2)(b) was meant to ensure equitable allocation of funds to backward Vidarbha and Marathawada.

The advocate general’s first affidavit was in context of a legal dispute involving a thermal power plant to be set up in Vidarbha’s Amaravati by Sofia Power Company Ltd (now Indiabulls Power Ltd).

The fresh affidavit,however,read,“I reiterate the submission of the government of Maharashtra… and clarify that the governor’s directives for allocation of funds for development expenditure will bind the government of Maharashtra to spend the funds so allocated for the purposes allocated by the governor.”

In view of the latest affidavit,one of the petitioners Bhaurao Deshmukh demanded,the court’s March 2 order clearing the way for the power plant should be recalled. The court rejected the demand.

The court had also recorded the claim of senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Vineet Naik on behalf of Indiabulls Power that the governor “merely acts as an elder statesman and the governor cannot issue directives.”

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