The Bombay High Court on Friday refused to quash the appointment of Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and two others as ministers in the BJP-led Maharashtra government but said appointments made for political gains was not morally correct. It also said voters were capable enough to take decisions on such shifting of loyalties for political gains and teach those involved in them a lesson.
A division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and G S Patel in its judgment noted that after the Lok Sabha elections held this year, the BJP got majority votes which might have inspired leaders from other political parties to join the party. The bench dismissed a petition challenging the appointment of Vikhe Patil, NCP-turned Shiv Sena leader Jaydutt Kshirsagar and RPI (A) leader Avinash Mahatekar as ministers in the Devendra Fadnavis-led government in the state.
It said the Constitution permits such appointments. Vikhe Patil, who was the leader of opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly till he joined the BJP and the ministry, was inducted as the housing minister in the Fadnavis cabinet in June.
"The ministers have been inducted in the state Assembly merely for political gains and convenience. We do not endorse this. What has been done may strictly not be morally correct and may have been a political plot but we cannot hold that the ministers defected and are disqualified," the court said. When people are shifting their loyalties for pure political gains, then it is for the public at large to teach them a lesson, the bench said.
"Although it is unfortunate that such trends are increasing, such matters are best left to the public who are the voters. It is for the voters to respond to such trends," the court said. The public is "politically aware and capable enough" to take appropriate decisions, the court said..
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