Supreme Court asks Shinde faction to redraft submissions on Uddhav camp petitions

A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana was hearing petitions filed by the Shiv Sena and its rebel MLAs on constitutional issues of splits, merger, defection and disqualification

FPJ BureauUpdated: Wednesday, August 03, 2022, 10:56 PM IST
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Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde, left and former CM Uddhav Thackeray | File

New Delhi: The Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that party MLAs loyal to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde can save themselves from disqualification under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution only by merging with another political party.

The bench, headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana, asked the Shinde faction, represented in court by senior advocate Harish Salve, to redraft the legal issues of split, merger, defection and disqualification raised in petitions filed by the Thackeray camp that are to be adjudicated upon following the recent political crisis in Maharashtra.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Thackeray faction, told the bench there is no constitutional protection for disqualification under the 10th schedule. One either has to merge or form a new political party, Sibal told the bench, also comprising Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli.

Rebutting the arguments, Harish Salve said the anti-defection law is not a weapon for a leader who has lost the confidence of his own party to lock his members and somehow hang on. He said it is not the case where the MLAs have voluntarily given up their membership of the political party.

“It is not a case of defection. Today, it is the case of intra-party rebellion and nobody has given voluntary membership of the party,” Salve said.

The top court asked Salve to redraft his submissions on petitions filed by the rival Uddhav Thackeray group on constitutional issues arising from the recent political crisis in the state.

At the outset, Sibal, along with senior advocate AM Singhvi, submitted that the Shinde group violated the party's chief whip by not attending a party meeting and stood disqualified in accordance with the provisions of the 10th Schedule.

“Two-thirds go on one side and one third remains. So, two-thirds cannot say we are the original political party. The Shinde faction had admitted before the Election Commission that there is a split,” Sibal said, adding, “

Once you have been elected, it does not mean the umbilical cord with the political party is severed and that you have nothing to do with your political party.”

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