A plea has been moved to Bombay HC to direct the Governor of Maharashtra to act upon the recommendation of the Council of Ministers to nominate Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray as a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC).
As per Article 164 of the Constitution, Thackeray will cease to be a Minister within six months of his appointment as CM, if he fails to secure a seat as an MLA or an MLC till May 28.
Elections for nine seats to the Maharashtra Legislative Council have been postponed due to Corona Lockdown and the only route for Thackeray is to get nominated as an MLC by the Governor of the state as elections have been concluded.
The Council of Ministers of the Maharashtra government had also sent a communication on April 9 to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari recommending that Thackeray be nominated as an MLC.
The Council of Ministers reiterated its recommendation to the Governor. However, no response has been received from Governor Koshyari.
Petitioner Surinder Arora , the Founding President of the Bharat Jan Aadhar Party, has stated in his plea that the Governor is bound to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.
The petition avers that the Governor had consulted Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, who responded that the decision of the Council of Ministers deserves consideration and does not suffer from any unconstitutionality or illegality. Thus, it is stated,
“In these circumstances, there was no reason to withhold the proposal for almost three weeks except for the purpose of embarrassing and pressurising the incumbent Chief Minister of Maharashtra and that the BJP can offer other allurements to the members belonging to the ruling party to seek their defection.
Unless the Governor takes a final call on the proposal of the Council of Ministers immediately, the same would lend scope for horsetrading. Any further delay in nominating Shri Uddhav Thackeray or at least taking decision on the proposal of Council of Ministers would be detrimental to the public interest, the administration and the political stability in the State.”
Advocate Satish Talekar represented the petitioner and poses the following questions of law,
Whether the Hon’ble Governor can sit over the decision of the Council of Ministers in the matters of recommendations for nominating members under Article 171(5) of the Constitution of India?
Whether the inaction on the part of the Governor in deciding the proposal submitted by the Council of Ministers is contrary to the scheme of the Constitution of India?
The petition has prayed that the Court direct the Governor to decide on the proposal of the Council of Ministers dated April 9 recommending the nomination of Thackeray. This decision is sought to be taken within three days of the Court hearing the plea.
Governor Koshyari has written to the Election Commission of India, requesting that the results of the MLC elections for nine vacant seats be announced at the earliest. After the nine seats had fallen vacant on April 24, the Election Commission had decided against filling the vacancies, in light of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The matter will be next heard on May 5 .
Read the plea here: