New Delhi: Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for former Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, on Thursday asserted that then Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had no constitutional power to topple the elected government and install Eknath Shinde as the Chief Minister in July last year.
Continuing his arguments against the Governor that he began on Wednesday, told a 5-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Jutice D Y Chandrachud said the group led by Shinde was still in Shiv Sena and as such Thackeray continued to have the majority to remain saddle.
By asking Thackeray to prove his majority, he said the government had recognised the split in the Shiv Sena which is not allowed under the Tenth Schedule. Responding to a series of questions by the Bench, Sibal said the governor can not satisfy after an elected government is in saddle.
Sibal fights for Thackeray
Sibal said the rival Shinde group could have voted against the Thackeray government defying the whip or the rival BJP could have brought a no-confidence motion, but none of these steps were taken.
The Bench, which also comprised Justices M R Shah, Hima Kohli, Krishna Murari and P S Narasimha, was intrigued at Sibal accusing the governor of becoming a party to the conspiracy of the rival group and wanted the court to summon documents from the Raj Bhawan to show that the governor did not make the calculations to satisfy that Thackeray has lost the majority.
'Governor was exposed'
He also questioned the notice sent by the rebel group from Assam appointing a new whip. He said the governor was exposed, once he invited Shinde to take the oath as the chief minister.
Another senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Thackeray, sought reversal of the court's rejection of his plea on June 29 against the governor's order for confidence vote. He sought status quo ante on June 30 and let then deputy speaker decide the disqualification of the rebels.
Both insisted on referring the matter to a 7-judge Bench since the case clashes with a 2016 judgment by the 5-judge Bench in the case of Nabam Rebia verdict having the same issue of whether an Assembly Speaker facing removal notice can handle the disqualifications.