The Governor of Maharashtra is yet to act on the recommendation of the Cabinet to appoint the incumbent Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for one of the vacant nominated seats of the Legislative Council or Vidhan Parishad, reported News 18. A decision regarding the same was made on April 9 during a cabinet meeting. But, the ‘silence’ assumed by the Raj Bhavan has added to the woes of the Shiv Sena.
CM Uddhav Thackeray was not a member of any of the houses (Vidhan Sabha and Vidhan Council) of State legislature when he took the oath of office on 28th November 2019. In accordance with Article 164 (4) of the constitution, he has to become a member of one of the two houses of the legislature within six months i.e. on or before 27th May 2020, else he will have to step down as a Chief minister.
Shiv Sena was quick to gauge that the Governor might assume an indifferent attitude. It perhaps explains why Sanjay Raut had tweeted on April 19 about not making the Raj Bhavan, a centre for ‘political conspiracy.’ He further cautioned that history is unkind to those who behave unconstitutionally.
Raj bhavan , governor’s house shouldn’t become center for political conspiracy. Remember ! history doesn’t spare those who behave unconstitutionally .— Sanjay Raut (@rautsanjay61) April 19, 2020
Shiv Sena readies strategy
A Shiv Sena leader has revealed four strategies that the party has chalked out to avert the impending power crisis in the State. First, the State Government call for the election to the vacant seats in the Legislative Council. After the lockdown is over, EC will have to agree to the polls, in which Thackeray could be elected as an MLC. Second, the government can call for a special session of the Vidhan Parishad in light of the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic and in that session, the members of the legislative council can nominate Uddhav Thackeray to the house.
Third, the erstwhile saffron party is willing to knock the doors of the Judiciary to resolve the deadlock, in case the Governor refuses to accept the recommendation of the Maharashtra cabinet. Lastly, Uddhav Thackeray can also resign on May 28 and then assume office after 2-3 days by taking oath as CM again. The Party thinks that if he takes a fresh oath, he will get another six months to become a legislator.
Reportedly, the fourth strategy has been ruled as “unconstitutional” by courts in the past. As such it is not a viable option. Another Shiv Sena politician cautioned, “The governor will have to okay the proposal sent by the cabinet. There is no alternative. If not, let things unfold in front of the people of the state. The backlash from people will be tremendous as the CM has people’s support. “
Another Shiv Sena leader had further emphasised that if the governor did not accept the Cabinet’s decision, then, they had already readied their plain.
The “Basic Structure Doctrine” of the Constitution
A person not ‘elected’ directly or indirectly becoming a minister or Chief Minister is contrary to the representative parliamentary democracy that we have adopted which contemplates that a government will be run by ‘representatives elected directly or indirectly’ by people.
Therefore such an act will strike at the root of the “basic structure of the constitution,” which cannot be changed, as pronounced by the apex court in Keshavanand Bharati case. It can, therefore, be vehemently argued that such ministership is unconstitutional. The supremacy of the constitution, a republican form of government and democracy, secularism, separation of power and independence of the legislature, executive and judiciary and federal character of the constitution are some of the facets of the basic structure.