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‘How Is This A PIL?’: HC on Petition Seeking Order to Restrain Maharashtra Guv Koshyari ‘From Speaking’

How is this a PIL, asked a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Abhay Ahuja on Thursday, questioning the petitioner as to how can the court restrain the Governor of Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshyari “from speaking”.

The public interest litigation (PIL) sought the removal of Koshyari for his comments against Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Savitri, and Jyotiba Phule.

As the petition, filed through advocate Nitin Satpute, was mentioned, the bench questioned the petitioner: “Can we restrain? How is this a PIL?”

The bench then informed the petitioner that it would fix the date for hearing the PIL after reading the documents.


The petition stated that Koshyari on February 2 had said that Samarth Ramdas was the ‘Guru’ of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, which is contrary to historical evidence.

As per the plea, the statement was: “Many chakravartins [emperors], maharajas took birth on this land. But, who would have asked about Chandragupta had there not been Chanakya? Who would have asked about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had there not been Samarth [Ramdas]?”

The PIL further read that the Governor also made remarks against Savitri Phule and Jyotiba Phule. As per the plea, the Governor, while inaugurating a statue of Savitri Phule, had said: “Savitribai was married off when she was ten years old… and her husband [Jyotirao] was 13 years old. Now imagine, what would the boy and girl have been doing after marriage? What would they have been thinking?”

Seeking his removal from the post, the PIL stated, “The Governor has become old person and not capable to function with his physical capacity. Removal of the Governor has become necessary as extraordinary and rare circumstances, including Physical or Mental incapacity, corruption, Constitutional violations, or misbehaviour. The Governor’s removal cannot be based on the ideology or preferences with which she or he is associated.”

It further prayed that till the disposal of the petition, the Governor should obtain a mental fitness/soundness certificate from a psychiatrist to prove his mental soundness.

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