Finally, a long drawn legislative and legal battle has begun after Shiv Sena has filed a petition before the Maharashtra Deputy Speaker Narahari Zirwal seeking the disqualification of 16 rebel legislators including Eknath Shinde. Zirwal sat with senior Shiv Sena leaders including Subhash Desai, Arvind Sawant and Anil Desai and later called the state advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhkone to seek his legal opinion. Team Shinde is expected to soon challenge the Shiv Sena’s move in the court of law. On its part, Zirwal will serve notice to both Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and Team Shinde to present their arguments on petition with regard to disqualification of 16 legislators. That will be followed by a series of hearings and in case of adverse ruling one of them will contest in the high court or in the Supreme Court.
On the other hand, Team Shinde has challenged Shiv Sena’s move while two independents Mahesh Baldi and Vinod Agarwal, who are supporting BJP in the state legislature, have filed a no-confidence motion against Zirwal who is quite in key deciding the Sena’s plea for the disqualification of 16 legislators for the breach of party’s whip.
Baldi and Agarwal said, ‘’The deputy speaker under the constitutional prohibition as interpreted and held by the Supreme Court to decide disqualification petition whilst a motion for his removal is pending. We further state that any action taken by the deputy speaker shall amount to contempt of the Supreme Court in view of the clear diktat. Under the circumstances, we submit that in the spirit of constitutional ethics and morality, the deputy speaker ought not to take any action whatsoever on the disqualification petitions.’’
Baldi and Agarwal cited a case from Arunachal Pradesh, in which the Supreme Court said Speakers cannot decide on disqualification if a no-confidence motion is pending against them.
According to Baldi, Zirwal was not in a position to disqualify anyone. ‘’I told the Deputy Speaker that we found from the media that you are expelling 12 MLAs. You are yourself facing no-confidence motion. In the circumstances, you cannot disqualify anyone. We will soon initiate legal steps," he added.
"If they want to disqualify all 288 MLAs, they can. Only the Speaker will remain then," he argued.
Team Shinde is also disturbed over Zirwal’s move to clear the appointment of Ajay Chaudhari to replace Eknath Shinde as the legislative party leader of the Sena in the assembly. Shinde has called the move illegal, saying that Chaudhari's name was proposed by the "minority faction" and that he represents the "real Sena".