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Supreme Court dismisses plea seeking guidelines for nomination of Legislative Council members

The plea alleged, “Due to lack of specific norms or criteria as referred above the several eligible and deserving personalities are deprived of consideration of names for the purpose of their nominations as members of Maharashtra Legislative Council and thus fundamental right contemplated under Article 14 is being violated.”

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The Supreme Court today dismissed a plea seeking directions to prepare guidelines for nominating people from specified fields to the Maharashtra Legislative Council by the Governor so that it doesn’t depend on his/her sole discretion and doesn’t leave it to the political party in power to make recommendations for it.

The bench led by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice A.S. Bopanna, Justice Hrishikesh Roy said, “The Governor is bound by the advice of the Council of Ministers. We are not here to advise the Governor.” The matter was argued by Advocate Prachi Deshpande, who insisted the bench to look into the language of Article 171 of the Constitution. But the bench refused to interfere in the matter and dismissed the petition.  

The plea has sought direction to the Union for framing and finalizing the norms or criteria for the purpose of the nomination of the eligible and deserving person on the Maharashtra Legislative Council as members thereof, in consonance with the provision of Article 171 of the Constitution of India. 

The plea alleged, “Due to lack of specific norms or criteria as referred above the several eligible and deserving personalities are deprived of consideration of names for the purpose of their nominations as members of Maharashtra Legislative Council and thus fundamental right contemplated under Article 14 is being violated.”

“The difference between Article 163 and 171(5) is that Article 163 of the Constitution speaks about any functions by the Constitution to be exercised by the Governor of any state on his discretion but on the condition of aid and advice of Ministers, whereas, Article 171(5) clearly and solely empowers the Governor to use his discretion in nominating the members of Legislative council. Therefore, it can be assumed and predominantly claimed that considering the present situation, it is the office of Governor who shall be exclusively exercising the nomination of the members as subjected to the eligibility and qualification criteria prescribed under 173(5) the Constitution of India,” highlighted the plea.  

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“If the recommendations made by the council of Ministers for the purpose of nomination under Article 171(5) of the Constitution of India are allowed to be considered as sole criteria then same will amount to amending the provision of Article 171(5) of the Constitution of India and carving out a new exception for the nominations under Article 171(5) of the Constitution of India. There is a risk that the Governor will lose its discretionary power and the same will go in the hands of the political parties which the Constitution of India does not allow and contemplate and so kind intervention of Supreme Court is anticipated in this matter,” the plea read.

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