Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday said he is not a party to the cases related to the killing of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare and added that oral remarks by courts are not judicial orders.
Mr Fadnavis, who also holds the home portfolio, made the statement in the Legislative Assembly in the backdrop of the Bombay High Court in March making strong observations against him in connection with the pace of investigation into the two high profiles cases.
"I am neither a respondent nor an accused in the cases. Oral remarks (by courts) are not judicial opinion or orders," the chief minister said, citing previous court orders.
Mr Fadnavis said there is clear separation of powers of judiciary and legislature and this arrangement has to be respected.
In March-end, the High Court had expressed displeasure over the pace of probe into the killing of Mr Dabholkar (August 2013) and Mr Pansare (February 2015), asking whether the chief minister did not have time to take stock of the cases.
The CBI is probing the Dabholkar killing case, while the state CID is probing the Pansare matter. "What is the CM doing? He holds 11 portfolios, including home, but does not find the time to take stock of the case," the court had said.
Mr Fadnavis was on Thursday replying to the debate on Governor Vidyasagar Rao's address to the joint session of the state legislature made in February. During his speech, the chief minister touched upon a host of issues, including the proposed water grid in drought- hit Marathwada and"Jalyukt Shivar", his government's flagship water conservation programme.