Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed the petition filed by Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Ravindra Waikar, alleging discriminatory allocation of MLA funds by the state administration for ward development in each constituency.
A division bench of Justices Suniul Shukre and Rajesh Patil dismissed the petition saying that the decisions of allocation of funds was guided by State policy and there cannot be judicial review of the same in the absence of lack of sufficient material.
No substance in the petition: Court
“A decision taken to accord sanction for carrying out of different works in different localities and allocating funds for execution of those works is an administrative function guided by the State policy.” the bench said, adding that judicial review of administrative function cannot be done as sufficient material was not placed before it to test reasonableness of the decision.
“We find no substance in the petition. The petition stands dismissed,” said the bench.
Waikar, through his lawyers Satish Borulkar and Siddhsen Borulkar, had contended that after the change in government in Maharashtra in June 2022, Rs 100 crore was allocated to five MLAs who had supported the present government. They submitted some documents to show the alleged arbitrariness and discrimination in the allocation of the funds.
The bench, after going through these charts, said that “in reality” these documents do not show any arbitrariness and discrimination.
“The document… on its superficial examination, would of course create an impression that the Government has allocated more funds to the constituencies represented by BJP candidates, but on a deeper consideration of the matter in its entirety, we would find that it is not so…” the bench opined.
It noted that substantial funds have been allocated to constituencies belonging to parties other than BJP. In Constituency No.30 represented by a Congress (MLC), funds of Rs.1025 Lakhs have been sanctioned for carrying out 34 works. Even to Waikar’s constituency, Rs 2.5 crore was sanctioned for 11 works.
Reasonable allocation of funds: Court
The document showed a trend that more the number of works to be carried out, higher is the allocation of funds. The court reasoned that the “allocation of funds made by the State Government appears to be having a reasonable correlation with the number of works sanctioned”.
Waikar had alleged that despite several representations seeking sanctioning of various works in the slums areas in his constituency, hardly few of the works received sanction.
“… that could be the reason why the allocation of funds is less,” the bench added.
The judges relied on Advocate General Birendra Saraf’s submission that the selection of works was carried out by a committee of experts.
“Considering absence of sufficient material, no occasion has arisen for us to examine the larger issue as to in what manner the allocation of State funds to members of legislative assembly and legislative council be made keeping in view the principle of fairness and transparency in such matters and the issue is kept open,” the bench said while dismissing the petition.