Maharashtra: SC To Hear Uddhav Thackeray Group's Plea Against Speaker Rahul Narvekar's Ruling In April

Maharashtra: SC To Hear Uddhav Thackeray Group's Plea Against Speaker Rahul Narvekar's Ruling In April

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra posted the matter for hearing in the second week of April.

ANIUpdated: Thursday, March 07, 2024, 05:33 PM IST
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Left Uddhav Thackeray, Right Rahul Narvekar |

The Supreme Court on Thursday posted for hearing in April the petition filed by Shiv Sena's Uddhav Thackeray faction challenging the decision of Maharashtra Speaker Rahul Narwekar rejecting to disqualify legislators of Eknath Shinde group while holding them as the real Shiv Sena.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra posted the matter for hearing in the second week of April and asked the respondents to file the reply on or before April 1.As the matter began in the court, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal for Uddhav's faction urged the court to decide the matter earliest. He also apprised the top court that elections are approaching therefore time is essence and opposite sides haven't filed a reply.

Supreme Court Questions Speaker's Decision

During the hearing, the court also questioned whether the finding of the Maharashtra Speaker while deciding the issue was contrary to the judgment of the top court. Senior Advocate of Uddhav's faction also submitted that the Speaker has interpreted the top court's judgement wrongly that the legislative majority is the real majority.

Senior Advocate Harish Salve for the respondent informed the Supreme Court that it is not the question of the legislative majority but some documents were fabricated. Senior Advocate Rohatgi, for respondents, submitted that as there were issues of forgery, what would the Speaker do? In January, the Supreme Court issued notice to Shinde and 38 MLAs of his group on Sunil Prabhu's (Thackeray faction) plea challenging the Speaker's order.

Shinde Faction Approaches Bombay High Court

Shinde group had approached the Bombay High Court challenging the refusal of the Speaker to disqualify the Uddhav Thackeray group and the High Court issued notice on the Shinde group's petition.In the apex court, along with the Maharashtra Speaker's decision not to disqualify Shinde and his group, Thackeray faction also challenged the order of Speaker to recognise the Shinde faction as the 'real Shiv Sena' after its split in June 2022.

The Speaker's decision came on January 10, nearly two years after Thackeray's camp moved disqualification petitions against Shinde and his supporting legislators under the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection law) of the Constitution.

Approaching the apex court against the Maharashtra Speaker Narwekar's decision dismissing the disqualification petitions against Shinde and 38 "rebel" Shiv Sena legislators, the Thackeray faction said the decision was a "colourable" exercise of power based on "extraneous and irrelevant" considerations.Earlier, the top court had asked the Speaker to decide expeditiously the disqualification petitions pending before him.

Disqualification Petitions & Previous Supreme Court Ruling

The disqualification petitions against the rebel MLAs were filed by Sunil Prabhu, the Shiv Sena party Whip appointed by Uddhav Thackeray, on 23 June 2022, after the MLAs revolted against Thackeray.In May last year, 11 five-judge Constitution bench had held that it could not disqualify the Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government and reinstate Uddhav Thackeray as Chief Minster because the latter had chosen to resign instead of facing a test of strength in the Assembly.

The Maharashtra Political Crisis

In August 2022, the top court's three-judge bench referred to a five-judge Constitution bench for the issues involved in the petition filed by rival groups of Shiv Sena about the Maharashtra political crisis.On June 29, 2022, the top court gave a go-ahead to the floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly on June 30.

It had refused to stay the Maharashtra Governor's direction to the then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority support on the floor of the House on June 30.After the apex court's order, Uddhav Thackeray announced his resignation as the Chief Minister and Eknath Shinde was later sworn in as the Chief Minister.

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