Bombay HC Issues Notice To Sharad Pawar-Led NCP Faction After Ajit Pawar Challenges Speaker's Decision Of Not Disqualifying Rival MLAs

Bombay HC Issues Notice To Sharad Pawar-Led NCP Faction After Ajit Pawar Challenges Speaker's Decision Of Not Disqualifying Rival MLAs

Ajit faction has challenged Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar’s decision not to disqualify them.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, February 21, 2024, 02:50 PM IST
article-image
Sharad Pawar & Ajit Pawar | File

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar and ten MLAs from the NCP Sharad Pawar faction on a petition filed by Anil Patil, chief whip of the NCP faction led by state Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar seeking their disqualification.

A division bench of Justices Girish Kulkarni and Firdosh Pooniwalla has also issued notice to the Maharashtra Legislature Secretariat. The HC has asked the respondents to file their reply affidavits before the next date of hearing on March 14.

Patil’s petition questions the “legality, propriety and correctness” of Speaker Rahul Narvekar’s order dismissing their disqualification plea against the MLAs of the Sharad Pawar faction. He has sought quashing of the order to the extent of disqualification issue. The plea also seeks disqualification of the ten MLAs on the other side.

Speaker's Decision On Real NCP

On February 16, Speaker Narwekar declared that the rival faction headed by Ajit Pawar is ‘the real political party’. However, the Speaker refused to disqualify MLAs from rival factions. The Speaker delivered his verdict on two petitions filed by both factions nearly six months after the party split into two groups.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi and advocate Shriram Varma, appearing for Patil, argued that the Speaker’s major findings were in Ajit’s favour except the part where the ten MLAs were not disqualified.

“The Speaker has ruled that the Ajit Pawar-led NCP is the ‘real political party’. Even the Election Commission had ruled in Ajit Pawar's favour. But still the ten MLAs (from Sharad Pawar's faction) were not disqualified,” Rohatgi submitted.

He argued that the actions of the ten MLAs were against the interests of the party and hence they ought to have been disqualified. “The Speaker has wrongly held that this was a case of internal strife within the party. But that is not our case. This is not just a case of internal dispute,” Rohatgi added.

The senior counsel also pointed out that it was not a case where some members had joined a rival political party.

Patil’s pela contends that opposite faction MLAs attract disqualification under Section 2(1)(A) of the Tenth Schedule.

The bench, however, said that it could not grant interim relief at this stage.

“There can’t be interim relief. We will issue notices,"Justice Kulkarni said.

Rohatgi said that notices be issued since there was an urgency due to the upcoming elections.

The HC then issued notices to the respondents and asked them to file reply affidavits by February March 11 and kept the matter for hearing on March 14.

NCP Split

In July 2023, the NCP witnessed a vertical split after Sharad Pawar's nephew Ajit Pawar and eight MLAs joined the Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government. The NCP was founded by Sharad Pawar in 1999.

Terming the Speaker’s order as bad in law, the Ajit Pawar faction has sought quashing of the order to the extent of disqualification issue and also sought that the 10 MLAs from the rival faction be disqualified.

On January 17, the HC had issued notices to 14 MLAs of Shiv Sena (UBT) on a plea by Shinde Sena’s whip Bharat Gogawale, seeking their disqualification. Speaker Narwekar, on January 10, had ruled that the Shinde-led faction was the “real political party”, but refused to disqualify rival faction’s MLAs. Gogawale’s petition claims that the Speaker’s decision was “arbitrary, unconstitutional and illegal” and that he failed to consider that MLAs from the Sena (UBT) faction had voluntarily given up membership of the party. Therefore, the Speaker's order of not disqualifying Sena (UBT) MLAs was “bad in law” and should be quashed and set aside, he had demanded.

The Election Commission has also recently ruled in favour of the Ajit Pawar Faction and allowed them to use the ‘clock’ symbol of NCP. Sharad Pawar’s plea challenging the ECI’s order is pending before the Supreme Court.

RECENT STORIES

Mumbai News: HC Grants Bail To Man Accused Of Killing Wife, Daughter

Mumbai News: HC Grants Bail To Man Accused Of Killing Wife, Daughter

Mumbai: 'University’s Functioning Cannot Be At The Cost Of Welfare Of Employees', Says Bombay High...

Mumbai: 'University’s Functioning Cannot Be At The Cost Of Welfare Of Employees', Says Bombay High...

Mumbai: 60-Year-Old Businessman Acquitted In Molestation Case As Complainant Dies

Mumbai: 60-Year-Old Businessman Acquitted In Molestation Case As Complainant Dies

Mumbai: Bombay High Court Grants Bail To Man Accused Of Killing Wife, Daughter

Mumbai: Bombay High Court Grants Bail To Man Accused Of Killing Wife, Daughter

Mumbai LS Polls 2024: 62-Yr-Old UBT Polling Agent Found Dead Inside Toilet In Worli Booth; 56-Yr-Old...

Mumbai LS Polls 2024: 62-Yr-Old UBT Polling Agent Found Dead Inside Toilet In Worli Booth; 56-Yr-Old...