Bombay HC slams Shinde, says CM can’t alter mantri’s decision

March 17,2023

NAGPUR: Coming down heavily on Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde for interfering in cooperation minister Atul Save’s working, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has ruled that “he has no supervisory powers to review or modify the decisions taken by the minister concerned”.

Quashing Shinde’s decision of November 29 last year wherein he stayed Save’s order allowing petitioner Chandrapur District Central Cooperative Bank (CDCCB) to start recruitment process, the HC clarified that the order of granting permission is of administrative nature, which can be reviewed only by the in-charge minister.

“The CM has no independent power assigned under the Maharashtra government rules of business and instructions to review or modify the decision taken by the minister concerned. Therefore, the order of stay granted by him would not stand,” a division bench held on March 3, while terming the CM’s intervention as “wholly unwarranted and without the authority of law”.

The CDCCB had challenged the CM’s stay order contending that he lacks jurisdiction and it was in breach of principles of natural justice.

Arguing that the CM had not verified the allegations before passing the order, the petitioner said the proposal for filling up 393 posts was sanctioned by the cooperation commissioner after an inquiry. “The CM’s order was passed at the behest of local politicians, and it was politically motivated and discriminatory. It does not take into consideration that the bank was facing acute staff shortage, making it impossible to run 93 branches,” the petition said. It said a complaint was filed by Chandrapur MP Suresh Dhanorkar.

The respondents, including the government, said being head of the council of ministers, the CM is responsible for acts of his ministers and has every power to review their orders. Calling the petition premature, they said the CM has merely stayed the process and directed to initiate inquiry. The respondents contended that the petitioner body had allegedly misappropriated huge sums during the recruitment process, for which criminal action was initiated.