NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear on July 11 the Uddhav Thackeray camp's plea moved by its chief whip Sunil Prabhu for suspension of new Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and 15 rebel MLAs from the Maharashtra Assembly, as disqualification pleas are pending against them.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal had sought an urgent hearing on Prabhu's plea before a vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and Jamshed B Pardiwala. He told the court: "There is no merger. The moment Shinde is sworn in he has violated the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution (anti-defection law). So, he is not the party. How are you going to control the House? Whose whip is to be followed? This is not the dance of democracy."
The Bench said it was conscious of the issue and not shutting its eyes, as it would hear the case on July 11, along with Shinde's plea against the disqualification notices. "Let us see what the procedure is and how it is applied," it said.
Prabhu had filed a fresh application, seeking suspension of 16 "delinquent MLAs till the final adjudication of the disqualification proceeding initiated against them by the Assembly's deputy speaker. He also sought directions to restrain them from entering the Assembly or participating in the proceedings relating to the House till the deputy speaker's decision.
The petition said the Tenth Schedule should not be rendered toothless by the ingenious device of sending a pre-planned notice for removal of a Speaker in order to pre-empt and thwart the Tenth Schedule proceedings.
The plea stated that Eknath Shinde becoming the chief minister and BJP's Devendra Fadnavis the deputy CM was a clear reflection that Shinde and the delinquent MLAs had been hand in gloves with the BJP all along with the aim of bringing down the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
As a reward for the anti-party activity, the BJP, despite having a large number in the State Assembly, offered the post of the chief minister to Shinde, the petition said.
It further said: "The conduct of the delinquents is so egregious and palpable that it does not even require calling for any explanation, but should straightway lead to termination from the membership of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly of Eknath Shinde along with all rebel MLAs supporting him.