The Bombay High Court on Monday fixed the hearing on two public interest litigations challenging the trust vote won by the BJP government led by Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra legislative assembly on November 28.
One of the petitions is a criminal side petition filed by Ketan Tirodkar while the other has been filed by Rajkumar Awasthi, seeking civil reliefs.
Tirodkar, a former journalist, mentioned the matter before the division bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah which said it would hear both the petitions on November 28.
Tirodkar has sought criminal prosecution of the newly- elected Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagde and Fadnavis for allowing the trust motion to pass by a voice vote though BJP had no majority.
The PIL alleges that the minority government with 123 MLAs in the 288-member house is ruling the state after winning the trust vote by “fraudulent creation of records showing non-existent support of 145 members”. “The 123 members shouted so loudly that the Speaker got the impression that 145 were shouting,” it says.
“It is a clear-cut fraud prevailing upon the state and upon the Constitution,” alleges Tirodkar’s PIL and demands that CBI should register a case of cheating and conspiracy against the Speaker and the Chief Minister.
Both PILs sought quashing of the passed confidence motion of November 12.
Tirodkar also contends that when a similar situation had arisen in 1995, the then Governor PC Alexander dealt that it in a different manner. In 1995, Alexander invited Sharad Pawar to form the government, but as the latter expressed inability, he invited Sena leader Manohar Joshi and BJP leader Gopinath Munde, while insisting on a letter of support from 144 legislators.
Awasthi’s PIL contends that the Speaker failed to follow the procedure. “As per the rule 41(1) of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Rules, even if a single member requests the Speaker for a decision by division, the same shall be done unless the Speaker is of the opinion that the division is unnecessarily claimed,” it says.