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Can court hear petitions challenging Speaker’s action, Bombay HC asks

Naseem-KhanThe Bombay High Court on Monday asked Congress leader Naseem Khan, who has filed a petition challenging the way the BJP government in Maharashtra proved its majority in the Assembly, to cite Supreme Court’s rulings to show that such petitions can be heard by the courts.

Khan has challenged Assembly Speaker’s controversial decision to allow passage of trust motion through a voice vote instead of a head-count (division of votes) on November 12.

Senior advocate BA Desai, appearing for Khan, argued that Speaker Haribhau Bagade’s action subverted the law laid down by the Supreme Court that a floor test is mandatory in such situations.

However, the division bench headed by Justice V M Kanade asked Desai to cite Supreme Court judgements to show that the High Court has the powers to hear a petition where the Speaker’s action inside the House has been challenged.

Khan has demanded that the HC should set aside the voice vote obtained by the government.

Another petition, filed by Rajkumar Awasthi, also objects to the way Devendra Fadnavis government proved its majority on November 12. It has been clubbed with Khan’s petition.

Awasthi’s lawyer, advocate Anil Anturkar, argued that his petition does not make any allegations against the Chief Minister or the Speaker personally, but questions the Speaker’s action.

The arguments would continue on Tuesday.

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