Maharashtra: HC says 'Anti-Shinde PIL politically motivated'

It even questioned need of hearing petition when political equation has changed following CM’s resignation

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Friday, July 01, 2022, 09:20 AM IST
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Eknath Shinde | Photo: Shashank Parade

Questioning the motive behind the public interest litigation, which was filed early this week following the turmoil in the Maharashtra government, the Bombay High court on Thursday imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on the petitioner.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik directed the seven citizens, who had filed the PIL seeking action against Eknath Shinde and other Sena rebels, to deposit a cost of Rs 1 lakh observing that the petition seemed "politically motivated".

The court remarked that the plea was filed without much research and hence directed the amount as a pre-condition to hear it. “Prime facie, we are of the view that the PIL is politically induced and requisite research ought to have been made before the PIL jurisdiction is to be invoked,” observed the courtin its order.

It further added, “In the view that they insisted that it (PIL) should be heard, we direct security of Rs 1 lakh to be deposited, failing which the petition shall stand dismissed.”

During the hearing, the court asked Asim Sarode, advocate for the petitioner, whether the plea should still be heard in view of the political developments on Wednesday.

The bench was referring to the resignation of Uddhav Thackeray as Maharashtra chief minister. In his submission, Sarode said that the court ought to take cognisance and act against the rebel MLAs for neglecting their duties by abstaining from work.

“You have elected the ministers, you take action. Why should we take cognisance?” asked CJ Datta. The court questioned the petitioner on the rule which mandates a minister or an MLA to remain in the city or state all the time. Sarode then sought time to find out if there was any such rule.

The HC has said that the PIL will be listed for hearing three weeks after the petitioners deposit the money. If they fail to deposit the money then the PIL will stand dismissed. The plea had sought that the rebel leaders be directed to return to Mumbai from Guwahati, and resume their duties.

It further sought that “appropriate action” be initiated against the MLAs for the “omission of duties and moral wrongs committed, leading to disrespect towards the public rights and good governance”.

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