The Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed petitions challenging the appointment of two politicians who joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena as ministers on the ground that nothing could prevent the State from constitutionally appointing anyone as minister.
A Division Bench of Justices S.C. Dharmadhikari and G.S. Patel was hearing a petition that said Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil was elected MLA from Shirdi in 2014 as a Congress candidate and was the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly. Jaydutt Kshirsagar too was elected as Congress MLA from Chousala constituency. They both resigned and joined the BJP and Shiv Sena respectively, thereby attracting disqualification on the grounds of defection within the meaning of Schedule X and Article 191 (2) of the Constitution.
The petition, filed by Vijay Wadettiwar and Surinder Arora, said these ministers being non-legislators are disqualified under the Constitution from holding a position of MLA or MLC.
The court however, refused to quash the appointments and said, “Ministers have been inducted in the State Assembly merely for political gains and convenience. We do not endorse this. What has been done may strictly not be morally correct and may have been a political plot but we cannot hold that the ministers defected and are disqualified.”