Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Dilip Walse Patil on Tuesday rejected the opposition's contention that there was no provision for the post of deputy chief minister and ruled that there was no constitutional obstacle in introducing Ajit Pawar as DyCM.
Following up the Speaker's ruling, Chief Minister Prithiviraj Chavan stood up immediately and introduced Ajit Pawar as the deputy chief minister amid thumping of desks by the treasury benches as Opposition looked embarrassed.
The opposition members later enter the well of the House following which it was adjourned for 30 minutes.
Winding up the two-day debates and counter debates on constitutional validity of the post of deputy chief minister, the Speaker quoted the Supreme Court verdict in KM Sharma vs
Devi Lal and others in 1990 PIL and Devidas Pawar vs Gopinath Munde high court Aurangabad bench ruling in 1996 and said the fact that the minister was described as deputy chief minister while swearing-in does not render the oath administered to him as unconstitutional.
On the first day of the Winter Session of the state Legislature on Monday, opposition Leader in the lower house, Eknath Khadse (Bharatiya Janata Party), and others during a point of procedure, had contended that there was no post of deputy chief minister
as such in the Constitution and hence the chief minister cannot introduce Pawar as DyCM before the House.
The speaker, who withheld his decision on the point of procedure on Monday at the end of debates, on Tuesday announced his decision, thereby out rightly rejecting the opposition's objection.
He ruled that the post of deputy chief minister was descriptive and there was nothing improper in administering oath to a minister as per the laid down provisions of the
Constitution, and as deputy chief minister and for all practical purposes he is deemed to be a minister.
Jagjiwan Ram, Choudhary Charan Singh, Devi Lal, Yashwantrao Chavan and L K Advani have occupied the post of deputy chief minister while Nashikrao Tirpude, Ramram Adik, Gopinath Munde, Chhagan Bhujbal, Vijay Singh Mohite Patil, R R Patil and Ajit Pawar have occupied the post of DyCM, the speaker said.
Earlier Khadse, Subhash Desai (Shiv Sena) and Bala Nandgaonkar (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) continued to raise the objection even on the second day of debate.
Khadse even demanded that in view of the judgements of Bombay high court, the government should summon the advocate general to seek his views on the issue.
Home Minister R R Patil's remarks that his party was ready to take on Opposition anywhere, whether it is in the House or on streets, irked the Opposition who demanded an apology from him.
But the Opposition looked embarrassed and entered the well of the House, thereby disrupting the proceedings but sensing the mood of the House, the speaker adjourned it for 30 minutes.
After the state government issued a white paper on irrigation which gave a clean chit to Ajit Pawar following allegations of irregularities against him, he was reinducted as the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra last week.
The opposition had criticised the government's decision.