Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) has approached the Supreme Court seeking the transfer of the Eknath Shinde faction's plea from the Bombay High Court to the top court. Shindes faction had filed a plea in the HC challenging Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar's refusal to disqualify 14 MLAs of the Uddhav Thackeray faction.
High Court issued notice to Thackeray's faction MLA
The HC, on January 17, had issued notices to the MLAs from Thackeray's faction. It is a fit case for transfer because the questions of law concerning the determination of which group represents the political party and whether the legislative majority can be treated as the political party are substantial questions of general importance, the plea states.
The Supreme Court, meanwhile, has sought responses from Shinde and other lawmakers of his group on a plea of the Uddhav Thackeray faction challenging Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar's order declaring the Shiv Sena bloc led by Shinde as the "real political party" after its split in June 2022. A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra took note of the submissions of senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for the Thackeray faction and sought a response from the chief minister and other MLAs within two weeks.
At the outset, the top court said the plea can be heard by the Bombay High Court as well. The senior lawyers for the Thackeray faction, however, opposed the idea and said the top court is more equipped to handle the case. "Your Lordships have to decide it. If we go to the high court, then it will be delayed further," Sibal said, adding the speaker's decision had come in pursuance of the direction of the top court. The Supreme Court, which initially intended to grant Shinde and the MLAs of his bloc four weeks to submit their replies, later fixed the case after two weeks.
Eknath Sinde has 'unconstitutionally usurped power,' said MLA Sunil Prabhu
The Thackeray faction, in its plea filed through MLA Sunil Prabhu, has alleged that Shinde "unconstitutionally usurped power" and is heading an "unconstitutional government". In his order passed on January 10, Speaker Narwekar had also rejected the Thackeray faction's plea to disqualify 16 MLAs of the ruling camp, including Shinde. Challenging the orders passed by the Speaker, the Thackeray faction has claimed they are "patently unlawful and perverse" and that instead of punishing the act of defection, they reward the defectors by holding that they comprise the real political party.