Sena MLAs' Disqualification Row: Speaker Rahul Narwekar Hints At 'Giving Order By Jan 10'

Sena MLAs' Disqualification Row: Speaker Rahul Narwekar Hints At 'Giving Order By Jan 10'

The Supreme Court last week extended the deadline for Maharashtra assembly speaker Rahul Narwekar to decide on the cross-petitions from December 31 to January 10 next year.

PTIUpdated: Thursday, December 21, 2023, 01:07 PM IST
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Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar | File

Maharashtra assembly speaker Rahul Narwekar has said he does not see any hurdle in issuing an order by January 10, 2024, on the cross-petitions filed by rival factions of the Shiv Sena seeking disqualification of each other's MLAs.

SC extended the deadline for Rahul Narwekar to take a decision on the Sena Disqualification Pleas

Narwekar on Wednesday confirmed that the hearings have concluded, followed by arguments from both sides, the Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and the Uddhav Thackeray-headed Shiv Sena (UBT). The Supreme Court last week extended the deadline for Narwekar to decide on the cross-petitions from December 31 to January 10 next year.

After the Supreme Court mandated Narwekar to give a verdict by December 31, the speaker started holding hearings daily in Mumbai. He continued the process in the morning hours during the winter session of the state legislature, which concluded in Nagpur on Wednesday.

Followed all the legal provisions, said Maha speaker Rahul Narwekar

"I do not see any hurdle in giving the order by January 10. The decision will be based on the law and constitutional provisions," the speaker said in the Vidhan Bhavan in Nagpur. "I have followed all the legal provisions. The order will be out as mandated by the Supreme Court after we peruse all the documents and study them," he added.

Supreme Court came down hard on Rahul Narwekar 

The delay in deciding the disqualification petitions against CM Eknath Shinde and Shiv Sena MLAs loyal to him had come under strict scrutiny by the Supreme Court which came down hard on the assembly speaker at previous hearings, saying the proceedings cannot be reduced to a charade and that he cannot "defeat" its orders.

Earlier on September 18, the apex court directed the speaker to spell out the timetable for adjudication of the disqualification petitions against Shinde and Shiv Sena MLAs owing allegiance to him. They split the Shiv Sena and tied up with the BJP to form a new government in June 2022. 

Thackeray faction moved the apex court in July

The court had asked the solicitor general to apprise the bench of the time schedule to be fixed by the speaker for deciding the pleas for disqualification of 56 MLAs, including lawmakers belonging to the Shinde faction. The Thackeray faction moved the apex court in July seeking a direction to the speaker to expeditiously adjudicate the disqualification petitions in a time-bound manner.

The plea by Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) MLA Sunil Prabhu, who, as the chief whip of the undivided Shiv Sena, filed the disqualification petitions against Shinde and other MLAs in 2022, alleged the speaker was deliberately delaying the adjudication despite an apex court verdict asking him to decide them within a "reasonable" time.

Sharad Pawar also filed a separate disqualification plea against Ajit Pawar

Later, a separate plea was filed by the Sharad Pawar faction of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) for a direction to the speaker to expeditiously decide the disqualification petitions against Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and party MLAs loyal to him.

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