The Bombay High Court on Thursday termed as "politically induced litigation" a PIL filed by seven citizens seeking action against dissident Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde and other rebel MLAs of the party and said it would hear the plea if the petitioners deposit Rs one lakh as security.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice M S Karnik also dismissed another public interest litigation (PIL) filed by social worker Hemant Patil seeking registration of an FIR against Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, his son Aaditya Thackeray and party leader Sanjay Raut for "sedition and breach of public peace". Both the pleas were filed earlier this week.
The petition filed by the seven citizens said Shinde and other rebel MLAs had caused political turmoil and instigated internal disorder. The plea also sought a direction from the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to submit a detailed plan of assurance detailing the process of governance in absence of several of its ministers.
In his PIL, Patil sought the court to restrain the trio (the Thackerays and Raut) from making any further statements against the rebel MLAs. The high court, while hearing Patil's plea, said there was recourse in law for the petitioner to approach a magistrate's court with a private complaint. While hearing the PIL filed by seven citizens, the bench asked their lawyer Asim Sarode if the plea should still be heard in view of the developments on Wednesday (wherein Uddhav Thackeray resigned as Maharashtra chief minister).
Sarode said the court ought to take cognizance and act against the rebel MLAs for abstaining from work and neglecting their duties. The bench then asked why the court should take cognizance of this. "You have elected the ministers, you take action. Why should we take cognizance?" chief justice Datta asked. The court then asked Sarode which rule says that the MLAs or ministers have to remain in the city or state all the time. Sarode then sought time to find out if there was any such rule.
"Prima facie, we are of the view that this is an absolutely politically induced litigation. The petitioners have not made the requisite research. We direct the petitioners to deposit Rs one lakh as security within two weeks," the court directed.
The bench said if the money is deposited then the PIL shall be placed for hearing after three weeks and if not then it shall stand disposed of. Patil in his PIL claimed that pursuant to the rebellion by several MLAs of Shiv Sena led by Eknath Shinde, protests have been held in various districts in Maharashtra and verbal attacks have been made against them. Due to this breach of peace and apprehension of violence, the central government has given security to the rebelling MLAs.