Mumbai: 8 months on, Guv yet to fill up 12 vacant MLC posts

The state government informed the Bombay high court on Monday that it has submitted to the Governor, in November 2020, the names of 12 persons to be nominated to the post of Member of Legislative Council (MLC), but the governor has not taken any decision on it.

The affidavit was filed by Satish Waghole, Parliamentary Affairs Department secretary in Mantralaya, in reply to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Nashik resident Ratan Luth.

In his PIL, Luth stated that the governor was in breach of his Constitutional obligation as he has till date not nominated anyone to the post of MLC. Some of these posts have been lying vacant since June 6, 2020.

Appearing for Luth, advocate Aspi Chinoy told the division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and justice Girish Kulkarni that eight months have passed since the government had submitted the list of 12 names to the governor. He argued, “We are only asking for a decision to be taken. Although the governor is not open to judicial orders, his actions or inactions are open to it.”

The state government, in its affidavit, said the power of the governor to make these nominations do not fall in the category of ‘discretionary powers’ conferred on the governor. “The governor has to exercise this power of nomination strictly in accordance with the aid and advice of the council of ministers,” the affidavit said.

“It has been specifically submitted in the said communication (the list submitted by government in November 2020) that in the larger interest of the public, it was necessary to fill the vacant positions at the earliest,” the affidavit said.

It added that the governor was requested to complete the process of nominating the 12 persons as MLCs within 15 days.

“However, till date the governor has not respected the advice of the council of ministers,” the government said.

Besides, the government has not received any communication from the office of the governor on this issue, added the affidavit. The next hearing has been slated for July 16.

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