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3rd petition in HC challenges trust vote won by BJP Government

Devendra Fadnavis

Mumbai, Nov 18 (PTI) A fresh petition was filed in the Bombay High Court today challenging the controversial vote of confidence obtained by the BJP Government in Maharashtra Assembly last week.

The petition, filed by two persons, has contended the entire process was “illegal and unconstitutional”. It would be mentioned tomorrow before a Bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah which would decide the date about its hearing.

The Devendra Fadnavis Government won the confidence motion through a voice vote, a process which invited sharp criticism from Opposition Shiv Sena and Congress.

This is the third petition on the trust vote issue. The other PILs have been filed by Ketan Tirodkar and Rajkumar Awasti, both social activists.

Tirodkar’s PIL is a criminal side petition that seeks a direction to CBI to file a case against the newly appointed Speaker and the Chief Minister for getting the confidence motion passed by a voice vote, which it said was “illegal”. Awasti’s petition is seeking civil reliefs.

The latest petition, filed by Sanjay Lakhe Patil, a social worker, and Sanjay Chitnis, a journalist, said the BJP Government needed support of 145 MLAs to win the confidence motion in the 288-member Assembly (current strength is 287).

As it could not muster the support of 145 MLAs, the motion was taken by a voice vote and made to appear as if the Government had the majority support in the House, they said.

The petition argued that under the Constitutional provisions, the respondents (Speaker and CM) were duty-bound to hold a secret ballot or head count to establish Government’s majority in the House. But this was not done.

The Court has already fixed November 28 for hearing the PILs filed by Tirodkar and Awasti.

All three petitions seek direction quashing the confidence motion passed in the Assembly on November 12.

However, the BJP, which has 121 MLAs and claims to have support of some Independents and legislators from smaller parties, has been defending the manner in which the trust vote was passed.

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