Mumbai HC: Governor has constitutional obligation to decide on MLCs nominations

Mumbai HC: Governor has constitutional obligation to decide on MLCs nominations

Mumbai: Mumbai High Court has observed that the seats in the Legislative Council cannot be kept vacant for long. 

While hearing the petition filed Maharashtra government and a resident of Nashik, a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni has observed that Governor has the constitutional obligations to deal with the matter within the stipulated time. 

The court has observed that Chief Minister and Governor discuss nominating the members to the Council. The delay of eight months in deciding the issue is beyond a reasonable time, the court said. 

The Maharashtra government had moved court over the Governor’s undecided in issuing an order of nominating 12 members to the legislative council.

Both the governor and Uddhav Thackeray's government has locked horns over appointing Governor’s nominee to the Upper House. 

The court can not issue orders to the Governor. However, the court has hopes that the Governor will decide on the matter soon, Bombay High Court said. 

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"If there is an issue with any of the names, then the Governor and Chief Minister must discuss the issue," the court added.

The obligation of the Governor to accept or return the recommendation, the High Court said, by the state council of ministers has to be discharged within a reasonable time. The bench said the seats in the state council "cannot be kept vacant indefinitely".

The state government has contended that Governor has to act upon aid and advice of the Council of the minister. He cannot keep the file for an indefinite time. 

The court said that while the Governor might have genuine reasons not to convey his decision earlier, the issue has to be resolved at the earliest. "Whatever be the reason, it is time that the impasse is resolved... Eight months seems to be beyond a reasonable time," the bench said.

The state government has submitted to the Bombay High Court that it sent to the Governor a list with names of 12 persons to be nominated to the Legislative Council eight months ago.

The government's affidavit said the power of the Governor to make these nominations does not fall in the category of the 'discretionary powers' conferred on the occupant of the top constitutional office.

The Maharashtra Governor, Bhagat Singh Koshyari, has kept the proposal of the cabinet pending so far, and he did not take any decision on the matter.