HC scraps plea against Gorhe's election as dy chairperson of Maha Council

·2-min read

Mumbai, Jan 7 (PTI) The Bombay High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition challenging Shiv Sena MLC Dr Neelam Gorhe's election as the deputy chairperson of the Maharashtra Legislative Council.

A bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and M N Jadhav dismissed a petition filed by BJP MLC Gopichand Kundalik Padalkar.

On September 8 last year, Gorhe was elected unopposed as the deputy chairperson of the state Legislative Council, after the opposition BJP did not contest the election for the post.

Padalkar, however, approached the High Court after the polls, claiming that Gorhe's election to the post was illegal and should be quashed and set aside.

The state legislature should not have scheduled the election in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, the petitioner stated in his plea.

Padalkar also told HC that he had tested positive for coronavirus on September 6 last year.

Since a notification of the state Legislative Council issued on September 4 had prohibited those who had tested positive from attending the election and casting their votes, Padalkar was unable to vote or even contest the polls, the petition stated.

The BJP MLC claimed in the court that since he was unable to vote on account of the September 4 circular, he was prevented from exercising his right.

Padalkar sought that the circular also be held as illegal by the High Court.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, who appeared for the state, however, opposed the plea.

The post of deputy chairperson had been vacant since April last year and the Council had followed due procedure in conducting the election to fill the post, Kumbhakoni said.

The court held that Padalkar was unable to vote in the elections on account of his own ill health.

The September 4 circular was meant for the health and safety of all council members and could not be held illegal or unconstitutional, it stated.

The bench also said that while the council rules prohibit one from proposing one's own name for contesting the above post, nothing prevented Padalkar's party members, who attended the elections, from proposing his name.

'Nothing is demonstrated to show how the direction dated September 4, 2020 that was issued in the interest members' health and safety is illegal or unconstitutional,' the bench said.

'A position where a person is not able to exercise his right due to circumstances attributable to him and where his right is specifically abrogated by direct acts of the others, are two different legal concepts,' it said.

Saying that the plea did not warrant that the High Court exercise its power of judicial review in a matter of the state legislature, the court dismissed the plea. PTI AYA ARU ARU