Days after he tendered his resignation to the Governor, the state cabinet declined to accept the resignation of Advocate General (AG) Ashutosh Kumbhakoni (60). Last week, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray approved a proposal retaining Kumbhakoni as the state’s top legal officer for another term.
Following Thackeray’s move, Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta, in a notification on Saturday, stated that the Governor of Maharashtra is pleased to retain Kumbhakoni as the AG of the state in continuation of the notification of June 7, 2017, when he was appointed AG by the then BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government in the state.
Sources told The Indian Express that while Kumbhakoni had submitted his resignation to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on November 30, it was subsequently sent to the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state and later placed before the Cabinet for its consideration. The cabinet declined to accept the resignation following which the notification of his continuation in office was issued.
In his stint as the AG under the BJP-Shiv Sena government that came to power in the state in 2014, Kumbhakoni defended the state government in several cases including the release of actor Sanjay Dutt, convicted under the Arms Act, from prison, challenges to the constitutional validity of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority, Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority’s decision to allot land to a judge’s society and played a key role in tying up the litigation against the implementation of the Maratha reservation in the state. He also argued against the commutation of the death sentence handed out to two men for the rape and murder of a BPO employee in Pune in 2012, on the grounds of inordinate delay in execution. The death sentence was, however, commuted to life imprisonment by the Bombay High Court.
A former judge of the Bombay High Court, Kumbhakoni had, in 2008, resigned from judgeship over issues of seniority. He was appointed as a senior counsel in 2014. Prior to being elevated as a judge of the High Court, Kumbhakoni also served as the first Associate Advocate General of Maharashtra under the then Congress-NCP government in 2005, an office he held for three years.