The Bombay High Court bench in Goa on Monday admitted a petition challenging the constitutional validity of bestowing lifetime cabinet status on former Congress Chief Minister Pratapsingh Rane by the BJP-led coalition government in Goa just ahead of the February 14 assembly polls this year.
The Court is also scheduled to hear the plea on May 2 from the petitioner, a city lawyer Aires Rodrigues, who has sought a stay on the Goa government notification granting Rane the lifetime cabinet status in January this year.
In his petition, Rodrigues has pointed out that the Constitution of India does not provide for conferring cabinet status on any individual other than a current minister who is duly sworn in and that there is no law whereby cabinet status can be granted to an individual, who was in the past a Minister.
"Under Article 164 of the Constitution, the total strength of the Goa cabinet cannot exceed 12. My petition has submitted that conferment of cabinet status on Pratapsingh Rane results in the number of Cabinet ranks being 13 which exceeds the mandate of law," the petitioner also said.
Rane is one of the tallest Congress leaders in the state and has served as chief minister on several occasions spread over 15 years. His only son, Vishwajit, incidentally is a Health Minister in the current BJP-led coalition government.
Incidentally, Rane was supposed to contest the February 14 assembly polls but withdrew from the fray following a public rebuke by his son. The BJP had later promised to offer Rane with a lifetime cabinet status and a cabinet resolution was also passed to the effect in January.
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