Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the Maharashtra government whether it had called for objections, as mandated under the guidelines framed by the Union Ministry, before renaming Osmanabad and Aurangabad.
The HC was hearing two PILs challenging the renaming of Osmanabad and Aurangabad as Dharashiv and Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar respectively, alleging that the move is “politically motivated” and that the same would lead to “religious and communal hatred”.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice Sandeep Marne asked the State Government to explain the circumstances under which such a decision was taken and whether any objections were called for. Also, the government has been asked to explain as to how it acted upon its decision without it being final.
The court has also asked the Centre to give details and the status of the proposal submitted by the state.
The counsel for the petitioners, Pradnya Talekar, submitted that immediately after Mr Eknath Shinde was sworn in as the Chief Minister, the decision was taken to rename the cities. She said that the decision was taken without even constituting a proper Cabinet consisting of 12 duly elected ministers. Besides, neither any objections were called for nor any compelling reason for such a drastic decision was stated.
It was further pointed out that the state had taken the decision despite the fact that on an earlier occasion, the Supreme Court had granted ‘status-quo’.
Ms Talekar argued that although no final decision has been taken by the Centre, the state has implemented it and is addressing the cities by their new names. To substantiate her argument, she submitted a communication addressed by the Under Secretary to the Government, Public Health Department, referring the offices of District Civil Surgeon, Osmanabad and District Health Officer, Osmanabad as ‘District Civil Surgeon, Dharashiv and District Health Officer, Dharashiv’.
The HC has kept the matter for hearing on Feb 15.
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