The Maharashtra government has said that it is open for the council of ministers and the Chief minister to withdraw the list of 12 names as nominated MLCs till the governor accepts the recommendation.
An affidavit was filed by deputy secretary Dilip Deshpande before the Bombay High Court in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and former corporator of Kolhapur municipal corporation, Sunil Modi.
Modi had challenged the decision of the Eknath Shinde-led government to withdraw the recommendations made by the erstwhile Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi for the 12 nominated seats. The PIL stated that the posts of the 12 MLCs, to be nominated by the governor, have remained vacant for about three years.
Terming the PIL as “misconceived”, the government has said that there is “no legal basis stated in the petition for challenging such withdrawal”.
The recommendations were yet to be accepted by the governor and till such time as the governor accepts the recommendations and nominates the members to the Legislative Council, “it is open to the council of ministers and the Hon’ble Chief Minister to reconsider the advice and if thought appropriate to withdraw the recommendations earlier made”, read the affidavit.
It has clarified that as per a Cabinet decision taken on August 10, 2022, the CM wrote a letter on August 23, 2022 to the then Governor and requested him to return the proposals earlier made to make new recommendations. The governor returned the recommendation on August 30, 2022.
“The question as to what advice was given by the council of ministers and on what basis is not open to judicial scrutiny,” the affidavit emphasises.
The PIL has sought that the governor either nominate the 12 members recommended for Legislative Council on November 6, 2020, by the MVA or to return the recommendations with reasons recorded.
Court to hear the PIL on September 22
The government has contended that “such a relief is not maintainable in the eyes of law and the constitutional scheme”. It states that even the HC bench led by then chief justice Dipankar Datta, while hearing a similar plea, respected the “constitutional scheme and did not pass any directions against the governor observing that the same could not be done”.
A bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor has kept the PIL for hearing on September 22.