Soon after stepping down as Advocate-General, Shreehari Aney took on the Shiv Sena and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), saying on Tuesday that as A-G his duty was to attend to the interests of people.
“That is why I have said that the reason for my resignation is conflict of duty,” Mr. Aney told The Hindu after the Shiv Sena and other parties turned the heat on the government.
Legislators cannot keep disrupting the Assembly because of my remarks, said Mr. Aney. “There is an unhealthy tradition of stalling the session, which ultimately hurts the people and I would not like to be the cause of it. Therefore, I told the Chief Minister, it is better if I go because I am what I am,” he said.
Quoting from his Facebook statement, Mr Aney said, “There are two reasons for my resignation. The first has to do with conflict of duty. The second concerns institutional stability.”
Reacting to Shiv Sena’s demand that he be prosecuted for treason, Mr Aney said, “Unfortunately, they [Shiv Sena] would need a good lawyer to tell them what sedition is. The creation of a state is a constitutional process that will be followed. I am not talking about destroying the country, only asking for a separate State,” he said.
Mr Aney did not spare the RSS either. “I am little surprised about what M G Vaidya said, because he has been saying the same for the longest time. In Vidarbha, BJP won a thumping majority ,” he said.
Stating that the constitutional post cannot be easily separated from the individual, Mr Aney’s predecessor Sunil Manohar said, “It’s a matter of convention and individual choice. It’s about how elastic are the fundamental rights and how far they can be stretched. I would never give up my right to speak, but I would never hold the post then.”
Mr Manohar, who quit for personal reasons, added, “It is not about being right or wrong; it is a matter of individual choice, perception and convention. But when you are holding a constitutional post, you cannot publicly take such a view. ” He, however, added, “He does have the right to express as far as it does not contradict the policy of the State; the line is hazy and the post cannot be easily separable.”
Mr Aney found support in former Advocate General V A Thorat, who resigned in 2005. “There is nothing wrong with the statement qualitatively, but one has to live within the oath. With the responsibility and oath, the freedom does get curtailed, but having said that the government always knew about his stand. ” Questioning whether fundamental rights get restrained once a constitutional post is taken up, additional government pleader Hiten Venegavkar said, “The State loses it’s most efficient and intelligent A-G merely for expressing his personal opinion that too outside of court.”