SC asks Maharashtra Speaker not to proceed with disqualification pleas of Shiv Sena MLAs

Last week, Maharashtra legislature secretary issued show cause notices to 53 out of the total 55 Shiv Sena MLAs in the state – 39 of the faction led by Eknath Shinde and 14 of the Uddhav Thackeray group.

FPJ BureauUpdated: Monday, July 11, 2022, 11:12 PM IST
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Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray | PTI

NEW DELHI: A three-judge Supreme Court Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana, on Monday, asked the newly-elected Maharashtra Assembly not to proceed with the plea seeking disqualification of Shiv Sena MLAs.

The Bench, which also comprised Justice Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli, took note of the submissions by senior lawyers led by Kapil Sibal that several pleas of former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s faction were to be listed on Monday as per the directives of two vacation benches, but they were not on the cause list.

CJI Ramana told Sibal that the listing “will take some time” as the Bench is not yet finalised. He said the matter will be listed after Tuesday after he sets up a Bench.

“I urge that there should be no disqualification till the matter is decided here,” Sibal said, pointing out that the top court earlier had protected the rebel MLAs last month when they had approached it. He said the disqualification petition is listed on Tuesday before the Speaker.

The Bench told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Governor to “please inform the Assembly Speaker not to take any hearing. Let us see, we will hear the matter”, it said.

Petitions from both sides are pending before the top court, most of them from the Thackeray faction. They include a petition by Eknath Shinde challenging the disqualification notices issued by the Deputy Speaker, and a petition by Shiv Sena’s chief Sunil Prabhu challenging the Maharashtra government’s direction to Thackeray to prove majority of the erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi government.

Also pending is a petition filed by Prabhu, challenging the action of the newly elected assembly speaker recognising the whip nominated by the Eknath Shinde group as the chief whip of the Shiv Sena.

After Shinde was sworn in as the chief minister on June 30, Prabhu moved the top court seeking his suspension and of 15 rebels on various grounds, alleging that they are “acting as pawns of the BJP, thereby committing the constitutional sin of defection”.

There’s also a petition by Sena general secretary Subhash Desai against the decision of the Maharashtra governor to invite Eknath Shinde to be the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

The Thackeray faction has also challenged the validity of assembly proceedings held on July 3 and July 4 in which a new speaker of the House was elected and the subsequent floor test in which the Shinde-led coalition proved its majority.

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