Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis

Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said a reply would be submitted to the Bombay High Court which has sought a response from Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, and two other ministers in the state government on a plea challenging their appointment.

The high court on Monday sought the response of Vikhe Pateil, the former leader of opposition in the state Assembly, NCP-turned Shiv Sena leader Jaydutt Kshirsagar, and RPI(A) leader Avinash Mahatekar who were recently appointed as ministers in the Fadnavis-led government.

"Let the respondents (ministers) also get a chance to object or respond to the petition," the court said while posting the matter for further hearing after four weeks.

Speaking on the issue in the state Assembly, Fadnavis said, "A response would be given to the high court after we receive thenotice. This is notice before admission. The High court did not find any urgency in the matter and hence, it has given four weeks to reply.

Fadnavis was responding to Congress member Prithviraj Chavan, who demanded that the state advocate general be summoned in the Assembly to explain what advice he had given to the chief minister about the three ministers.

Chavan cited the 91st constitutional amendment,which states that an MP or MLA should not be made minister after he/she resigns from the membership of Parliament or Legislature. He said the member can be made minister only after getting elected again.

Fadnavis said he had taken advice from legal experts and was ready to cite the Supreme Court's directives to substantiate the appointment of Vikhe Patil, Kshirsagarand Mahatekar, who are not members of either of the two Houses in the state legislature, as ministers.

Chavan demanded that the three ministers not be allowed to conduct official duties till the court gives directions in the case. To this, Fadnavis said the court has not prevented the three ministers from conducting their duties and hence, they cannot be barred from functioning as ministers.

Meanwhile, reacting to NCP leader Ajit Pawar's comments on the chief minister's official bungalow 'Varsha' defaulting on water bills, Fadnavis said, "The payment was held back for a month when it came to notice that bills were getting repeated despite the payment." "There was no default. It took a month to rectify the bills," he added.

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