Bombay HC sets aside Bhalchandra Shirsat’s disqualification from BMC standing committee
The Bombay high court (HC) on Monday struck down the decision of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) general body to disqualify BJP-nominated corporator Bhalchandra Shirsat as a standing committee member. HC has ordered the civic body to reinstate him as a member of the standing committee of the civic body.
Shirsat had approached the HC after the chairman of the standing committee had disqualified him on October 21, 2020.
A division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice Girish Kulkarni had concluded hearing of Shirsat’s petition last month and had reserved its order. During the hearing, advocate Amogh Singh for Shirsat had informed the court that the rules relied upon by the BMC standing committee to disqualify Shirsat was not as per the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, and hence it was “illegal” and in “colourable exercise of power”.
The standing committee had based its disqualification of Shirsat on the fact that a member was required to be an elected member, and Shirsat’s disqualification was justified as he was a nominated member.
BMC had opposed Shirsat’s petition on the grounds that he had not challenged the rules, which the HC had accepted and directed him to pay ₹1 lakh to the civic body for “wasting BMC’s time”.
Thereafter, Shirsat had sought permission to amend the petition which was allowed and he challenged the rules that the civic body had relied on while disqualifying him. On October 23, the day when the civic body had held an urgent general body meeting to ratify the decision of the standing committee, the HC had granted interim relief to Shirsat to continue as a member of the standing committee until his plea was heard.
While passing its order, the bench observed, “The act of removal of petitioner does not have statutory support and does not have legal ground. Petition stands allowed.”