Legislative Council: Bombay HC dismisses BJP MLC’s plea towards election of Neelam Gorhe as deputy chairman

The Bombay High Court on Thursday dismissed a plea by BJP MLC Gopichand Padalkar, who had challenged the election of Shiv Sena chief Neelam Gorhe because the deputy chairman of the Maharashtra Legislative Council.

Padalkar, who was barred from getting into the Council to attend the election, as he was affected by Covid-19, had moved HC looking for to put aside the September 8, 2020 outcomes notification – which had declared Gorhe because the deputy chairman – claiming that it was unlawful and arbitrary and in addition sought re-election.

A division bench of Justice Nitin M Jamdar and Justice Milind N Jadhav famous that the deputy chairman’s place was vacant since April 2020, and as per the Constitution, one needed to be chosen for the publish “as soon as may be”.

As the session of the Council was held amid the pandemic on September 7 and eight, “in the interest of health and safety of the members”, a basic discover was issued on September 4 permitting solely members with Covid-19 unfavorable reviews to attend the House. Following this, Padalkar had examined constructive and couldn’t take part in electing the deputy chairman, prompting him to problem the election earlier than HC.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, representing the state, opposed the plea stating that the validity of any proceedings within the Council couldn’t be referred to as in query on grounds irregularity of process. He added that the alleged proper of the petitioner to take part within the election couldn’t be exercised due to peculiar circumstances, and never by the motion of the respondents.

Justice Jamdar, who authored ruling for the bench, famous, “There is no merit in this challenge. Even to consider the challenge on this count, prejudice flowing from the same should be ex facie apparent. The petitioner is calling upon the court to undertake an inquiry into the propriety of the procedure adopted by the Legislative Council, which is impermissible in view of the Constitution.”

“Therefore, the petitioner’s right, as claimed, was not exercised due to the general direction issued in the interest of health and safety of the members. The decision to hold the session on these dates and for a two-day duration and not postpone an item are matters of the state legislature’s internal autonomy. Taking up a subject not on the agenda can, at the most, be considered as an irregularity of procedure.”

It additional stated: “Even assuming judicial scrutiny in these procedural aspects is permissible, there is no ex facie gross illegality or unconstitutionality in the action of choosing respondent Gorhe as deputy chairman. Gorhe enjoys the support of the majority of the members.”

On HC’s function in reviewing state legislature proceedings, the bench stated: “While HC, in restricted circumstances, can exercise its power of judicial review to ensure that there is no abuse of power by the Legislature in respect of its proceedings, the court must tread with caution and judicial restraint.”

“This is so because the HC is not an appellate body over the state legislature, nor the state legislature is an inferior organ to the HC. The Constitution envisages that both recognise the institutional autonomy of each other.”

Dismissing Padalkar’s petition, moved by senior counsel Milind Sathe and advocate Pralhad Paranjpe, the courtroom stated, “For the HC to exercise its power of judicial review in these matters, the case should be of such gravity that it transcends this scheme of mutual (between HC and state legislature) deference. No such case is established by the petitioner.”

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