The Maharashtra government on Monday told the Bombay High Court that in November 2020 it had submitted to the state Governor the names of 12 persons to be nominated as members of the Legislative Council, but he is yet to take a decision on the same.
The state government, in its affidavit, said the Chief Minister, with the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, had submitted to the Governor in November 2020 a list of 12 persons recommended to be nominated as Members of the Legislative Council at the earliest.
These nominations to the Upper House of the legislature are to be made under the Governor's quota.
The affidavit was submitted in response to a public interest litigation filed by a Nashik resident, Ratan Luth, who said that the Governor was in breach of his constitutional obligation as he has till date not nominated these persons as members of the council.
Mr Luth's counsel Aspi Chinoy on Monday told a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni that eight months have passed since the government submitted the list of 12 names to the Governor.
"The petitioner is not on who should be appointed. 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 judicial orders," Aspi Chinoy argued.
The state government, in its 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 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 said that on November 6, 2020, the Maharashtra Chief Minister, with the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, had submitted the names and details of 12 individuals to be nominated as MLCs.
"It has been specifically submitted in the said communication that in the larger public interest and from the point of view of healthy democracy as also the rich traditions that are meticulously observed in this regard, it was necessary to fill in these 12 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 Members of the Legislative Council at the earliest and at the most within 15 days.
"However, till date the Hon''ble Governor has not respected the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers and the Governor has not yet acted on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers," the government said.
The affidavit said so far the government has not received any communication from the office of the Governor on this issue.
The bench said it would continue hearing the matter on July 16.
Under Article 171(5) of the Constitution, those nominated shall consist of persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of matters such as literature, science, art and social service.
In the past, Maha Vikas Aghadi allies Shiv Sena and the NCP have criticised Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari over the delay in acting on recommendation over the nominations.