Sena vs Sena: Eknath Shinde Faction’s Whip Moves Bombay HC Seeking UBT MLAs Disqualification

Sena vs Sena: Eknath Shinde Faction’s Whip Moves Bombay HC Seeking UBT MLAs Disqualification

Gogawal’s plea is likely to come up for hearing on January 22 as per the HC website

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Monday, January 15, 2024, 08:11 PM IST
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Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde | File photo

Bharat Gogawale, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena’s chief whip, has approached the Bombay High Court challenging Maharashtra Speaker Rahul Narwekar’s refusal to disqualify 14 MLAs belonging to the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray). 

On January 10, the Speaker held that the Shinde-led faction is the “real Shiv Sena” when the rival faction emerged and Gogawale was validly appointed the chief whip. He held that Sunil Prabhu (representing the Uddhav faction) “ceased to be the duly authorised whip from June 21, 2022”. The Speaker had also dismissed the petitions by both the factions seeking disqualification of the rival factions members of Legislative Assembly (MLA). 

"Speaker’s decision was arbitrary, unconstitutional and illegal"

Gogawale’s petition claims that the Speaker’s decision was “arbitrary, unconstitutional and illegal” and he failed to consider that MLAs from the Sena (UBT) faction had voluntarily given up membership of the party. Therefore, the Speaker's order of not disqualifying Sena (UBT) MLAs was “bad in law” and should be quashed and set aside.

Gogavale, through advocates Chirag Shah and Utsav Trivedi, has filed 14 different petitions in the HC challenging the speaker’s decision against individual members, including UBT Sena whip Sunil Prabhu. 

Interestingly, Sena (UBT) has filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Speaker’s decision holding Shinde faction to be the “real political party” and refusing to disqualify MLAs from Shinde faction.

While dismissing Shine faction’s disqualification petition, the Speaker had said the ground taken by them that the UBT MLAs had “voluntarily given up” the party’s membership was mere allegation and no material was provided to substantiate it. Besides, it was held that the whip was not duly served to the Shiv Sena (UBT) faction.

Also, the whip issued by Gogawale on July 3 “did not contain any words which would indicate that the said whip, if not followed, would result in disqualification, therefore Gogawale’s plea “must be rejected”, the Speaker had said.

Challenging these observations, Gogawale’s plea before the HC said: “The final order and judgment dated January 10 passed by the Speaker erroneously concludes that the grounds as raised by the Petitioner herein are mere allegations and assertions on the part of the Petitioner. This conclusion is ex facie illegal and cannot be sustained. That the present Petition is derived from the fact that the respondent Sunil Prabhu voted contrary to the whip dated July 4, 2022 issued by the Petitioner (Gogawale), who is duly recognized as Chief Whip by the Speaker.” 

It adds: “This vote is a part of the record of the Assembly, and in no manner can be said to be a mere allegation. The Speaker failed to even peruse the reply one filed by Prabhu wherein he has admitted to allegations of the Petitioner.”

The petition has sought that Shiv Sena (UBT) MLAs be declared disqualified. 

Gogawal’s plea likely to come up for hearing on Jan 22

Gogawal’s plea is likely to come up for hearing on January 22 as per the HC website. However, the same could be mentioned for urgent hearing.

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