Constitutional Crisis in Maharashtra

3 min read

News:A constitutional crisis has occurred in Maharashtra that threatens the position of incumbent Chief Minister.

Facts:

  • Issue:The current Chief Minister took the oath of office without being a member of either the State legislature or council.Hence,he has to become a member of either House within six months.
  • However, the Election Commission has postponed all elections due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Governor’s quota: The state cabinet has recommended that the present Chief Minister be nominated to the Legislative Council from the Governor’s quota.However, the Governor has not taken any decision yet.

Constitutional Provisions related to the Issue:

  • Article 164(4): It allows a person to become a Minister without being a member of either House of State legislature for the period of six months from the date of oath.
  • Article 171(5): It mandates the Governor to nominate members to the Legislative Council who have special knowledge or practical experience in literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service.
  • Article 163(1): It says that the Governor must follow recommendations of the Council of Ministers in all situations except insofar as he is by or under this Constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them at his discretion.
  • Section 151A of Representation of the People Act 1951: It mandates the Election Commission to fill the vacancies in the Houses of Parliament and State Legislatures through bye elections within six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy provided that nothing contained in this section shall apply if a) remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is less than a year or b) Election Commission in consultation with the Central Government certifies that it is difficult to hold the bye-election within the said period.