Mumbai: Final arguments in the hearing on petitions for disqualification of Shiv Sena MLAs are unlikely to begin by the end of this year, a careful look at the schedule finalised by the Speaker of the assembly, Rahul Narvekar, reveals.
As per Supreme Court directives, Narvekar has declared the schedule for hearing on the disqualification petition against Shiv Sena MLAs, Aseem Sarode, counsel for Shiv Sena (UBT), said in his social media posts. He also shared the schedule with the public.
As per the schedule, the cross-examination of witnesses will begin on November 23. Given the number of witnesses likely to be presented from either side, this procedure is expected to take a long time. The Winter Session of the assembly is likely to eat up the whole of December, so the final hearing is unlikely to start this year.
“Justice delayed is clearly justice denied, and not to just us, but to Maharashtra,” Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aditya Thackeray said.
Thackeray slams govt over speaker’s visit
“A foreign visit for a parliamentary conference will be sham until democratic principles of parliamentary democracy, and our Constitution, upheld, are protected and decision is given. Delay tactics means the office protecting those against the Constitution,” Thackeray said in a statement on Wednesday evening. He was referring to the speaker’s visit to Ghana between September 30 and October 6 for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference.
According to the schedule, on October 6 the counsel from the Shinde faction will file their response on the additional affidavit filed by the Shiv Sena (UBT) on the last hearing date earlier this week. A week after that, on October 13, both factions will be asked to present their views on the demand raised by Shiv Sena (UBT) to club all petitions. They will be asked to submit written replies first and then present their arguments.
Between October 13 and October 20, both sides will be allowed to go through the documents and orders available with the assembly secretariat. In other words, this week will be exclusively for scanning documents.
On October 20, the speaker will give his ruling on the Shiv Sena (UBT)’s demands regarding clubbing of all the petitions and applications demanding to bring to record all the arguments and documents.
On October 27, both factions will be allowed to present their side on which documents to admit and which to discard. This means there will be only paperwork on this day; no actual hearing will be held.
On November 6, both sides will be asked to present their arguments in writing, on which points to consider while deciding who gets disqualified. The sides will exchange papers.
On November 10, the speaker will hear arguments from the sides on which points to consider while deciding about disqualification
On November 20, both the sides will be asked to present their affidavits and list of witnesses for the purpose of examination in chief. This means there won't be any arguments and just exchange of papers will be done on this day.
On November 23, the crossexamination of witnesses will begin.
Two weeks after the procedure for hearing of all the witnesses and their crossexamination, and examination of evidence is over, dates for final hearing will be finalised.
The speaker has also said in his letter to the Supreme Court that the schedule will be adhered to unless there is any specific demand from any side or there is a major hurdle.