Mumbai, Apr 6: Maharashtra Legislative Council today witnessed an uproar over the appointment of Rohit Dev as the acting Advocate General of the state as the Opposition claimed his post has no constitutional basis.
Congress also questioned if there is no "competent" advocate who could do justice to the post. Raising an adjournment motion, Congress legislator Sanjay Dutt said, "Shreehari Aney resigned on March 22 and Dev was appointed acting Advocate General the very next day.
Is there no competent lawyer who could become the Advocate General? "This post has no constitutional basis. Then, how can a person holding this post carry out his duty as mandated by the Constitution?"
After Deputy Chairman Vasant Davkhare rejected the motion, a strident war of words ensued between the Opposition and treasury benches, leading to the House being adjourned four times.
When the House reassembled, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said there is nothing in the law that prevents the state government from appointing an acting AG.
"We have appointed the acting AG as per the constitutional provisions. It is the Governor who makes this appointment and there is no law that bars him from doing so," he said.
Fadnavis further informed the House that 24 such acting AGs had been appointed by previous governments and NP Amin had served as the acting AG from 1948 to 1957.
"There is no point discussing this issue as appointing the AG is the prerogative of the government," Fadnavis said.
Despite Davkhare ruling that the motion has been rejected and the matter settled, Dutt continued to argue that there was no constitutional provision for appointment of an acting AG.
Supporting his contention, NCP's Rahul Narvekar sought to know what the government would do in case the proposed law banning dance bars was challenged in court.
He added that in such an event, the acting AG would not be able to argue cases in courts. Aney had resigned from the post after he was chided by the state government for suggesting that the drought-hit Marathwada region should become a separate state.
Aney had advocated separate statehood saying the region had faced grave injustice and its people should fight for their rights.