The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked the Mumbai legislature what their difficulty was in deciding on the resignation submitted by Rutuja Latke, the candidate of the Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray party, for the forthcoming Andheri East Assembly by-election became. A divisional bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and Sharmila Deshmukh directed lead counsel Anil Sakhare, who appeared for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), to brief the court on the citizenship’s position in the afternoon session.
Latke asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday for an order for the Mumbai Civic Authority to accept her resignation as an employee. “If an employee wants to quit and contest elections, what’s the difficulty? The petitioner is an employee. Why doesn’t the municipal commissioner use his discretion and not make a decision,” Judge Jamdar asked.
“It’s just an employer-employee dispute ahead of us. This is not even a matter that should have gone to court. The commissioner should have done it long ago. When will you (BMC) do it? The deadline (to submit the nomination) is tomorrow,” the bank added.
The deadline for submitting nominations for the November 3 by-election is October 14. Latke’s attorney, Vishwajeet Sawant, told the court that she was just an employee with no outstanding charges or investigations. Under normal circumstances, the resignation would have been accepted by the Joint Commissioner himself. “But due to the political circumstances, her resignation is pending with the Commissioner,” Sawant said.
Sakhare told the court that a decision on the resignation had not been made because the resignation was flawed. In her petition, Rutuja Latke said the citizenship’s delay in issuing a letter or an order (accepting her resignation) appears to be intentional to prevent her from contesting the by-election.
She also petitioned the High Court to allow her to field a nomination for the by-election necessitated by the deaths of her husband and incumbent MLA Ramesh Latke. However, Rutuja Latke did not mention which party she would like to submit the election proposal for.
Separately, Rutuja Latke has claimed that she will contest the side poll on the Thackeray faction’s “Mashaal” symbol. Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have pledged their support to the Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray party and made Rutuja Latka the candidate of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA).
The Uddhav-Thackeray faction had claimed on Wednesday that Rutuja Latke was being pressured by the group led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to contest her ticket. The Thackeray faction also claimed to be putting political pressure on the Mumbai citizenry to delay Latke’s resignation as their clerk in order to quash her candidacy in the November 3 by-election. The Commissioner of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), IS Chahal, had rejected any political pressure.
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