The legal team deployed by the Shiv Sena against its rebel camp on Sunday, which includes Supreme Court lawyer Devdutt Kamat, has said that unless legislators currently housed in a Guwahati five-star hotel merge with another party, they will face disqualification. This means the breakaway faction of around 39 Shiv Sena MLAs has two options – to either merge with the BJP or the Bacchu Kadu-led Prahar Janshakti.
Shiv Sena’s legal counsel Devdutt Kamat said the deputy speaker of the Maharashtra legislative assembly had full powers to adjudicate, in the absence of the speaker. “A legislature party is not supreme and the majority in the legislature party has no meaning. It is formed from the original party,” Kamat said, in the presence of Shiv Sena’s chief spokesman and Lok Sabha member Arvind Sawant.
Kamat said that under the Constitution, the deputy speaker has the power of the speaker in the latter’s absence and can adjudicate on such matters. “A no-confidence motion was sent through an unauthorized email address by the rebels,” he said.
Kamat said disqualification proceedings have been initiated against 16 rebel legislators as per para 2.1.A of the 10th schedule of the Constitution. He said several Supreme Court decisions have shown that the actions of legislators outside the House amount to anti-party activity and render them liable for disqualification. The legislators haven’t responded to party directives to attend meetings convened.
“Until they merge into another political outfit, disqualification applies to them,” he said. The merger concept was introduced in 2003, added.
The governor can call for a floor test on the advice of the chief minister, he said.
He said, “There are several judgments in the Ravi Naik case, as well as the latest judgment in the Karnataka case, which favour our side. The rebel MLAs have claimed that a legislator can face action for acts only inside the House. However, the law and even the Supreme Court has held that if the MLA commits anti-party activities outside the House he is liable to be disqualified.”
Most importantly, Kamat said that he had represented Sharad Yadav when he was facing disqualification from the Janata Dal (U) for attending an opposition rally and that he lost the case as it was held that Yadav was liable for disqualification for attending an opposition rally.
Kamat said that as per the current facts of the case, “The legislators have not attended several meetings called by the Shiv Sena, have met BJP leaders and are even staying in a BJP-ruled state. They are writing against the government here, and are trying to topple the government here.”