Refusing to accept the contention of the Maharashtra government that it was not mandatory on it to table the Adarsh inquiry commission report, the Bombay High Court on Monday directed the government to say whether or not it is going to table the report in the ongoing winter Assembly.
A division bench of Justices V M Kanade and M S Sonak was hearing a petition filed by Maharashtra BJP seeking a direction to the government to table the report before the legislature.
Government pleader G W Mattos today sought dismissal of the petition on the ground that under section 3(4) of the Commission of Inquiry Act it is not mandatory on the state government to table the report.
Relying on a judgement passed by the Andhra Pradesh High Court, Mattos said the petition filed by the BJP was not maintainable. "Apart from this, preparing an action taken report is a stupendous job which will take a lot of time," Mattos said.
The bench, however, observed that the petition was maintainable. "Whether or not it is mandatory for the government to table the report we will consider later but first tell us if the government plans to table the report in the ongoing winter session," Justice Kanade said.
The government will have to inform the court on this on Tuesday.
The petition, filed by BJP MLA Yogesh Sagar and party spokesperson Atul Shah, alleged a conspiracy behind the government's reluctance to make public the report and that it was trying to bury the matter.
Senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani, appearing for the petitioner, argued that by not tabling the report the government was hoodwinking the public at large. "The government has spent over Rs 7 crores on the commission. It was set up as an eyewash and now by not tabling the report they are fooling people," he argued.
The state government in January 2011 set up the commission headed by a retired judge to inquire into allegations that the land where the Adarsh building stands belongs to the Ministry of Defence, that it was reserved for war widows and veterans, and bureaucrats and ruling politicians flouted norms while granting permissions and in return they were alloted flats.
The commission, in its interim report, said that the land belonged to the state, and was not reserved for anybody. Later, in April this year, it submitted its final report.
The commission had recorded the statements of several defence officials, bureaucrats and former Maharashtra Chief Ministers Ashok Chavan, Vilasrao Deshmukh and Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.