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Govt lost majority, should Governor wait for floor test, SC asks Shiv Sena counsel



 The Supreme Court on Wednesday queried Shiv Sena Chief Whip Sunil Prabhu that if a government has lost majority in the house, and the Speaker of the Assembly is asked to disqualify those who have withdrawn support, should the Governor wait for a floor test?

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Prabhu, contended before a vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and J.B. Pardiwala that the Governor is bound to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.

He added that the Governor may act on the advice of ministers or not, but definitely cannot act on the advice of the opposition. Singhvi said if the rebel MLAs are allowed to vote on Thursday, then the court would be permitting voting by MLAs who could be disqualified later, which goes to the root of democratic principles.

At this, the bench queried Singhvi that suppose a government knows that they have lost the majority in the House, and the Speaker is asked to issue disqualification notices to those withdrawing support. Then at that point, should the Governor wait for calling a floor test or can he independently decide, it asked.

“What should the Governor do? Can he exercise his discretion?”

Singhvi added that the resolution sent to the Speaker was rejected as the authenticity could not be verified, as the communication was sent from unverified email. He asked how can the Governor, who just recovered from Covid, after a meeting with the Leader of Opposition, ask for a floor test the next day? Will it not blow the 10th Schedule (anti-defection law) to smithereens?

Singhvi added that the people who have changed sides cannot represent the will of the people. He said, “Will heavens fall if there is no floor test tomorrow?”

During the hearing, the bench queried suppose there are two situations, one where the Speaker has passed an order and it is lying pending before the court in judicial review, and in the other situation, the Speaker has passed this order and someone has moved the top court challenging the competence of the Speaker.

The bench said as far as disqualification is concerned, “it is before us, we can decide it either way but how does the disqualification affect the floor test?”

The hearing in the matter is in progress.

Prabhu, in his plea, termed the Maharashtra Governor’s direction to the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to take a floor test and prove its majority on Thursday (June 30) illegal, as he didn’t take into account the Deputy Speaker’s disqualification notices to 16 rebel MLAs.

It contended that the top court is considering the validity of the disqualification proceedings and has kept the matter for hearing on July 11, and the issue of disqualification is directly connected/interlinked with the issue of floor test.

“The Governor has also not bothered about the pendency of disqualification petitions nor has he taken into consideration that this court, while being seized of writ petitions challenging the issuance of notice by the Deputy Speaker has, vide order dated June 27, issued notice and directed the matter to be listed on July 11 for further consideration,” said the plea.


Navi Mumbai Congress hits road against Rahul Gandhi’s jail sentence




The Navi Mumbai unit of the Congress party took out a protest march and raised slogans ‘Jail Bharo’ to condemn the two-year jail sentence given to Congress MP Rahul Gandhi by a Surat court.

The protest march was taken under the guidance of the district president of the party Anil Kaushik.

Party leaders, former corporators, office bearers of various cells, and activists participated in the demonstrations and agitations were held all over the country to protest against the sentence.

Navi Mumbai Congress under the guidance of district president Anil Kaushik started their protest by staging a demonstration outside the Vashi Police Station. They alleged that the central government is acting with malice.

The party workers expressed their determination to intensify the agitation in the future.

Other leaders present at the protest included Jawaharlal Manch Cell Maharashtra Pradesh President Nila Limaye, Regional Spokesperson Nasir Hussain, and former corporator Meera Patil.

The protest was attended by a large number of Congress workers, including Navi Mumbai District Congress Secretary Vidya Bhandekar, Sandhya Kokate, Rakhi Patil, Cell President Ritesh Tandel, Ex-Corporator Babasaheb Gaikwad, Gyandeep Singh Chandok, Sunil Parkar, Vinod Patil, Vijay Patil, Dilip Nagpal, Balaji Salve, Bharat Malve, Abhijit Kakade, Sonwane, and Surendra Prasad

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Mumbai: Decision on information commissioner appointment after budget session




Eknath Shinde (1)

Mumbai: The decision on appointment of chief information commissioner and information commissioners will be taken after the budget session, said senior Mantralaya officials. The government, they said, will be considering applications of candidates other than administrative background as envisaged under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. 

Additional Chief Secretary (ARO&M), general administration department, Sujata Saunik said that the Chief Minister will decide on the date. “We will be filling up all vacancies. There is no decision at present on increasing the number of benches. Vacancies of only the existing benches will be filled,” she said.

Only 8 posts created in Maharashtra

The RTI Act provides that people of “eminence” in public life can be appointed as commissioners. In Maharashtra, only eight posts have been created, including that of the chief commissioner. However, the post has mainly been occupied by bureaucrats. 

As of now, four posts of information commissioners are vacant and that of chief commissioner will become vacant after April 13 when chief information commissioner Sumit Mullick retires. Manu Kumar Srivastava is said to be among the contenders for the post. 

The state government in February this year had issued an advertisement for three vacancies. “I have applied but we are yet to hear anything on it,” said Mohammed Afzal, one of the applicants from non-administrative background.  

Shailesh Gandhi, former central information commissioner, said, “I think they should be appointing people before they retire. It is too little too late to fill vacancies when posts have been vacant for long. Some activists should also get selected and the government should consider selecting some younger.”

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Bombay HC asks police to take down obscene video made public by Rakhi Sawant during press meet




Observing that ethical standards have to be maintained, the Bombay High Court reprimanded model actor Rakhi Sawant and asked the Mumbai police to take necessary steps to delete obscene videos made public by the actor of a fellow actor in a press conference.

Justice Anuja Prabhudessai questioned Sawant’s advocate as to why the actor indulged in such an act. “Why should you indulge in these things of showing such videos? Why should it be done for another lady? Some ethical standards have to be maintained,” said Justice Prabhudessai.

HC directs Mumbai Police to delete the videos

The judge has also asked Mumbai police to inform on March 28 whether such videos are available on any websites. Also, they have to inform the steps they propose to take to delete these videos.

The HC is hearing a pre-arrest bail plea filed by Sawant after the same was rejected by the sessions court. An FIR was registered against Sawant last October after she called a press conference and allegedly showed obscene video of a fellow actor and made defamatory statements.

Seeking relief, her advocate said that Section 67A, which was imposed on the actor, was non-bailable. The section deals with the offence of transmitting obscene videos.

Justice Prabhudessai questioned whether Section 67A would be applicable since the actor has denied transmitting any obscene video. According to the FIR, Sawant showed the video to media persons. Besides, the punishment for this, if found guilty, is only five years.

Further, the FIR does not say that the media has circulated all this. Also, the FIR states that the video is already available online.

The victim’s advocate pointed out that the video shown by Sawant was a private one which is not available online. She defamed the victim and showed the video, which is viral now.

The court then asked the police to check whether the video was deleted. If it is displayed then the same should be deleted.

The HC has kept the matter for hearing on March 28.

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