Bombay HC Seeks Replies From Sena UBT MLAs Over Disqualification Plea Filed By CM Shinde-Led Faction Whip

Bombay HC Seeks Replies From Sena UBT MLAs Over Disqualification Plea Filed By CM Shinde-Led Faction Whip

Bharat Gogawale, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena’s chief whip, approached the Bombay High Court on Jan 15, challenging Maharashtra Speaker Rahul Narwekar’s refusal to disqualify 14 MLAs belonging to the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray).

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, January 17, 2024, 12:05 PM IST
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Bombay HC Seeks Replies From Sena UBT MLAs Over Disqualification Plea Filed By CM Shinde-Led Faction Whip | File

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday issued notices to 14 MLAs of Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) on a plea by chief minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena’s whip Bharat Gogawale, seeking their disqualification.

A division bench of Justices Girish Kulkarni and Firdosh Pooniwalla has also directed the 14 MLAs to file their replies before the next date of hearing on February 8.

The bench notes that the Supreme Court is also hearing a related matter. “The Supreme Court is also hearing (related matter)? In all these matters, respondents will have to be served (petition copy),” Justice Kulkarni said.

The court asked whether the Speaker and the Maharashtra Legislature Secretariat were served copies of the petitions. Anil Singh, appearing for Higawale, assured the court that the petitions copies will be served to all the respondents. Justice Kulkarni remarked that the relief sought by Gogawale was very short and can be decided at then itself.

Bharat Gogawale Approaches Bombay HC Seeking Disqualification Of Sena UBT MLAs

Gogawale, had approached the High Court on January 15 challenging Maharashtra Speaker Rahul Narwekar’s refusal to disqualify 14 MLAs belonging to the Shiv Sena (UBT).

On January 10, the Speaker held that the Shinde-led faction is the “real Shiv Sena” when the rival faction emerged and Gogawale was validly appointed the chief whip. He held that Sunil Prabhu (representing the Uddhav faction) “ceased to be the duly authorised whip from June 21, 2022”. The Speaker had also dismissed the petitions by both the factions seeking disqualification of the rival factions members of Legislative Assembly (MLA).

Gogawale’s petition claims that the Speaker’s decision was “arbitrary, unconstitutional and illegal” and 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.

The petition has sought that Shiv Sena (UBT) MLAs be declared disqualified.

Interestingly, Sena (UBT) has filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Speaker’s decision holding Shinde faction to be the “real political party” and refusing to disqualify MLAs from Shinde faction.

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