Bombay High Court on Friday asked Member of Legislative Assembly from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Girish Mahajan to deposit ₹10 Lakh as a precondition to let his PIL be heard in the Court. The PIL was filed against December notification altering Assembly speaker selection rules.
High Court bench comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik was hearing two public interest litigations challenging the amendment in speaker selection rules of Maharashtra Assembly in a notification dated December 23, 2021.
The amendment altered Rule 6 (election of speaker) and 7 (selection of deputy speaker) of MLA Rules. The petitioners have called it arbitrary and in violation of the Indian Constitution.
The alterations replaced the secret ballot method of an open vote system through voice votes and show of hands. The tentative date for the speakers’ election is March 9.
The bench emphasized that a PIL ought to serve the public interest and also questioned how this PIL related to election of speakers could be of public interest.
“If it is personal liberty, lives are being lost, then we will intervene. Why is this political battle in High Court!” the bench said.
Being suspicious about the bonafides of Girish Mahajan, the bench stated, “The petitioner is a sitting MLA and he has approached the High Court on the 11th hour which raises suspicion on his bonafides and because of this we direct him to deposit ₹10 lakhs.”
The bench was also hearing a petition by one citizen Janak Vyas. Advocate Abhinav Chandrachud appearing for Janak argued that the rules permitting the Chief Minister to advise the Governor on elections of the speaker were unconstitutional.
On which the bench asked whether there was any provision in the Constitution which prevented the CM to advise the governor without aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.
The bench added, “Why should we read something to denude the CM of his powers!”
The suspicion was raised considering that the notification was issued in December last year and PIL was filed just 10 days before the election process.
In addition to that, the bench also observed that concerned authority from the state was not made a party in the PIL. However, some other authority was made the party.
“We have to respect our other wing. We cannot keep interfering in the functions of the legislature,” the bench said.