New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday agreed to hear on July 11 a fresh plea of the Uddhav Thackeray faction challenging the decision of the newly- elected Speaker of the Maharashtra legislative assembly to recognise the new party whip of Shiv Sena rebels led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
A vacation bench headed by Justice Indira Banerjee said the fresh plea would be heard by the same bench after the summer break on July 11 along with other pending pleas.
"The speaker has no jurisdiction to recognise whips. This is changing the status quo of proceedings before this court. The speaker yesterday at the stroke of pen at midnight elected the whip," senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for the Thackeray group, said.
"I do not have the papers in front of me. Let all of this come up together on July 11," Justice Banerjee said.
Shinde ascendant over Thackeray
In a major blow to the Uddhav Thackeray faction ahead of the crucial trust vote of the Eknath Shinde-BJP government, the newly-appointed speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly on Sunday night removed Shiv Sena MLA Ajay Chaudhary as the legislative party leader.
A letter issued by the office of Speaker Rahul Narvekar reinstated Shinde as the Shiv Sena's legislative party leader and also recognised the appointment of Bharat Gogawale from the Shinde camp as the chief whip of the Sena, removing Sunil Prabhu, who belongs to the Thackeray faction.
Earlier on July 1, the top court had agreed to hear on July 11 the plea of Shiv Prabhu seeking suspension from assembly of the Shinde and 15 rebel MLAs against whom disqualification pleas are pending.
Floor test today
The top court's decision comes as Eknath Shinde government -- formed with the aid of the BJP after two weeks of deep political crisis -- will have to prove its majority in the assembly today.
The test is expected to be a formality, as the votes to pick the speaker yesterday demonstrated that the ruling coalition commands a comfortable majority.
The newly-appointed speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly, Rahul Narvekar, on Sunday night removed Shiv Sena MLA Ajay Chaudhary as the legislative party leader.
A letter issued by the office of Speaker Rahul Narvekar reinstates Shinde as the Shiv Sena's legislative party leader and also recognises the appointment of Bharat Gogawale from the Shinde camp as the chief whip of the Sena, removing Sunil Prabhu, who belongs to the Thackeray faction.
Both of these moves have been challenged in the Supreme Court by the Uddhav Thackeray faction.