Admin decisions will not impasse because of Election Code of Conduct

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Administrative decisions that come under the purview of the state government, cannot be halted because of election code of conduct, the Bombay High Court stated on Monday.

The remark was made by a division bench comprising Justice Mridula Bhatkar and Justice N H Patil while hearing a petition filed by a convict in the 1993 serial train blast.

Farooq Motorwala, the petitioner challenged the refusal by Maharashtra’s Ministry of State for Home and Prison to extend his parole on the ground of election code of conduct.

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“Motorwala, who was sentenced to life imprisonment, was released on parole in February this year. On March 6, he applied for extension of parole. However, when no order was passed till March 18, Motorwala made enquiry with the concerned ministry and was informed that no orders on parole applications or on extension applications would be passed until theLok Sabha elections as the Code of Conduct is in progress,” stated advocate N N Gavankar who represented Motorwala in the case.

“Code of Conduct does not mean that the government will not take any administrative decisions. Normal and routine functions of the government cannot come to a standstill and be suspended. Has the Election Commission passed any rule that parole or extension applications cannot be decided during code of conduct?”, responded the Bombay High Court while delivering its judgment.

Expressing its displeasure on the stand taken by the government, the bench remarked, “Does this mean that the government will not arrest anyone during code of conduct?”