Renaming Aurangabad and Osmanabad is not illigal : Bombay HC, Petitions Rejected

The Bombay High Court has delivered its verdict on the contentious issue of renaming Aurangabad and Osmanabad, dismissing petitions that contested the decision to rename these cities. 

In a ruling by Chief Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor, the court declared the renaming notifications as legally sound, upholding the actions taken by both the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, led by Uddhav Thackeray, and the current administration under Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.

"We have no hesitation to hold that the notification issued by the state government renaming Aurangabad and Osmanabad does not suffer from any illegality or any legal vice," the bench said.

The Bombay High Court's decision to dismiss petitions contesting the renaming of Aurangabad brings disappointment to the city's residents. Despite their efforts to challenge the name change, the court's ruling marks a setback for those opposed to the alteration of Aurangabad's historical identity.

The saga began with the MVA government's decision in a cabinet meeting on June 29, 2021, to rename Aurangabad as 'Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar' and Osmanabad as 'Dharashiv'. This decision was reaffirmed by the subsequent government led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on July 16, 2022.

However, this move faced opposition in the form of petitions filed before the High Court by various individuals, including residents of the respective districts. The petitioners argued that the government's decision violated constitutional provisions and was politically motivated, particularly in the case of Aurangabad, where a similar attempt in 2001 had been aborted.

Furthermore, concerns were raised about potential religious and communal tensions arising from the renaming of Osmanabad to Dharashiv. The petitioners pointed out a previous failed attempt by the Maharashtra government in 1998 to rename Osmanabad to Dharashiv.

In response, the Maharashtra government defended its decision, asserting that the renaming did not stoke religious or communal animosity. They cited widespread celebration among the populace following the change from Osmanabad to Dharashiv and denied any political motive behind the move.
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