The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked the Mumbai civic body what was its difficulty in deciding on the resignation submitted by Rutuja Latke, the candidate of 'Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray' party for the upcoming Andheri East Assembly bypoll.
A division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and Sharmila Deshmukh directed senior counsel Anil Sakhare, appearing for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), to inform the court in the afternoon session as to what the civic body's stand was.
Ms Latke had moved the high court on Wednesday seeking a direction to the Mumbai civic body to accept her resignation as its employee.
"If an employee wants to resign and contest elections, what is the difficulty? The petitioner is a clerk. Why is the Municipal Commissioner not using his discretion and taking a decision," Justice Jamdar asked.
"It is just an employer-employee dispute before us. This is not even a matter that should have come to court. The Commissioner should have done it by now. When will you (BMC) do it? The last date (to submit nomination) is tomorrow," the bench added.
The last date for filing the nomination papers for the November 3 by-election is October 14.
Ms Latke's counsel Vishwajeet Sawant told the court that she is only a clerk, who has no pending dues or enquiries. In normal circumstances, the resignation would have been accepted by the Joint Commissioner itself. "But due to the political circumstances, her resignation is pending before the Commissioner," Mr Sawant said.
Mr Sakhare told the court that a decision on the resignation was not taken as the resignation was defective.
In her petition, Rutuja Latke said the delay by the civic body in issuing a letter or order (accepting her resignation) appears to be deliberate to prevent her from contesting the by-election.
She also requested the high court to allow her to file a nomination for the byelection, necessitated by the death of her husband and sitting MLA Ramesh Latke.
Rutuja Latke, however, has not mentioned the party she wants to file the poll nomination for.
Separately, Rutuja Latke has maintained that she will contest the bypoll on the Thackeray faction's 'mashaal' symbol.
The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have pledged support to the 'Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray' party, making Rutuja Latka the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) candidate.
The Uddhav Thackeray faction had on Wednesday alleged that Rutuja Latke was being pressured by the group led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to contest on their ticket. The Thackeray faction also alleged political pressure on the Mumbai civic body to delay the resignation of Latke as its employee to scuttle her candidature for the November 3 bypoll.
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner I S Chahal had denied any political pressure.