HC asks Mah AG to remain present in Nandlal case

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Mumbai, Apr 24 (UNI) The Bombay High Court today directed Maharashtra Advocate General Ravi Kadam to appear before the court following a petition filed by State Chief Electoral Officer Nandlal.

The order was passed by a Division Bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice Ashok Bangale.

Nandlal had moved the High Court challenging his arrest and jail after the state assembly approved a two-day jail term for him for contempt of the state legislature earlier last month. He had to spend over 2 hours in the Arthur Road Jail, which houses some of the most dreaded gangsters and undertrials in Mumbai.

The Assembly had approved the two-day jail sentence decision against Mr Nandlal for not presenting himself before the Privilege Committee despite being summoned repeatedly. The counting of two-day imprisonment was one sunset as one day and one sunrise as the second day.

The breach of privilege notice against Mr Nandlal, who is also the seniormost bureaucrat in the state, was served by Congress MLA Prof Janardan Chandurkar on March 27, 2006. The notice had been given in connection with a notification issued by Mr Nandlal for holding the internal elections of mayor, sarpanch and zilla parishads.

Mr Chandurkar had contended in the notice that although the right to conduct local bodies' elections vested with the State Election Commission, it was the State Government's prerogative to conduct the internal elections, including those of various mayors.

The Committee, which was a quasi-judicial authority, had summoned Mr Nandlal to come personally but he avoided presenting himself till the very end. Later, it sought Advocate General's advice on the subject, who said this was tantamount to contempt of the House.

Following this, the Committee had recommended that Mr Nandlal be sentenced to seven days simple imprisonment. But, on intervention of state Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, the punishment was reduced to two days simple imprisonment.

The matter was posted for hearing before the High Court on June 19.

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