A writ petition has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking a direction upon the Governor of Maharashtra to frame criteria for the purpose of nomination to the Legislative Council of the State, in terms of Article 171 of the Constitution.
The plea has been filed by a Head Master from Latur District in Maharashtra, Dr. Jagannath Shamrao Patil, stating that in the absence of specific norms/ criteria as referred above, several eligible and deserving personalities are often deprived from the nomination process.
The Petitioner has drawn the Court's attention towards clause 5 of Article 171 (Composition of the Legislative Councils) of the Constitution, which reads as follows:
The members to be nominated by the Governor under sub clause (e) of clause (3) shall consist of persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as the following, namely: Literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service.
Emphasizing on the word "shall" the Petitioner has submitted,
"there are no norms yet framed or finalized by the respondents 16 for the purpose of the making the nominations from the above five prescribed categories and thus the political parties who are in governance are taking the undue advantage of this loophole and are making the recommendations of the names of the persons who are not from the prescribed category but who are either powerful in politics or to whom the political parties want to make powerful by way of such nomination."
It is argued that there is no process in existence to verify that the persons who are recommended by the State Government possess such special knowledge or practical experience in the said subjects.
It is urged that the traditional practices followed by political parties in nomination of MLAs should cease and appointments should be made by way of "absolute discretion" of the Governor, as prescribed in the Constitution.
It is argued,
"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…"
The plea has been filed through Dr. RR Deshpande & Associates.
An interim prayer has been made to restrict the Maharashtra Government from intervening in the process of nomination during the pendency and final hearing of the petition.