The Bombay High Court on Monday refused an urgent hearing of two petitions challenging the Maharashtra government's decision to rename Aurangabad and Osmanabad cities, noting that nothing will be done with any "electrifying speed" by the government.
A division bench of Justices Prasanna Varale and Kishore Sant said there was no urgency to hear the two Public Interest Litigations (PILs) now and posted it for hearing on August 23. "There is no urgency. There are so many holidays this month. You (petitioners) expect the government to work? Even on working days, they (government) don't work," Justice Varale said. "Nothing will be done with any electrifying speed (by the government) which the petitioners are apprehending," the court added.
One of the PILs was filed last week by Aurangabad residents Mohammed Mushtaq Ahmed, Annasaheb Khandare, and Rajesh More challenging the renaming of Aurangabad as Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar. The second PIL was filed on Monday by 17 residents of Osmanabad against the state's decision to rename it Dharashiv
Notably, the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government led by Uddhav Thackeray had decided to rename both Aurangabad and Osmanabad in its last cabinet meeting held on June 29. The new government led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on July 16 passed a fresh proposal on renaming the two cities. Both the petitions termed the government's decision as "politically motivated" and argued that such a name change would lead to "religious and communal hatred".
The petition opposing the renaming of Osmanabad said that in 1998 the then Maharashtra government had unsuccessfully tried to change the name to Dharashiv. The plea against the renaming of Aurangabad said the Shinde government took this decision without considering public sentiments and disregarding provisions of the Constitution.