Shiv Sena Case Is Before SC's 7-Judge Bench Today

Shiv Sena Case Is Before SC's 7-Judge Bench Today

A seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court will today hear the 2022 case of Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai versus Principal Secretary of the then Maharashtra Governor on whether issuing a notice seeking the removal of the Speaker restrains him from adjudicating disqualification petitions under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.

FPJ BureauUpdated: Thursday, October 12, 2023, 01:47 PM IST
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Uddhav Thackeray | PTI

A seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court will today hear the 2022 case of Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai versus Principal Secretary of the then Maharashtra Governor on whether issuing a notice seeking the removal of the Speaker restrains him from adjudicating disqualification petitions under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.

Bench to also hear Nabam Rebia vs Deputy Speaker case

The Bench, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud, will also reconsider its 2016 decision in the Nabam Rebia vs Deputy Speaker case, which will have a significant bearing on the political crisis that led to the ouster of then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. The case pertains to the political crisis that began in June 2022, when current Chief Minister Eknath S. Shinde and a large number of MLAs from the Shiv Sena rebelled against then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in the Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha, leading to the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, comprising the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Indian National Congress.

Subhash Desai, the then general secretary of the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, filed a petition challenging the governor’s invitation to Shinde to form the government.

On August 23, 2022, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising then CJI NV Ramana and Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli observed that the matter raised important constitutional questions on the interpretation of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution (Anti-Defection law) and referred it to a five-judge bench.

10 questions on power of speaker

The bench formulated ten questions in the reference order pertaining to the power of the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker to initiate disqualification proceedings while proceedings on their removal are pending. It also referred to the five-judge Constitution Bench ruling in the Nabam Rebia vs Deputy Speaker (2016) case, wherein it was held that the Speaker of a House cannot decide a disqualification petition filed under the antidefection law while a notice under Article 179(c) for his removal is pending.

However, on May 11, 2023, a five judge bench comprising CJI Chandrachud and Justices Hima Kohli, MR Shah, Krishna Murari, and PS Narasimha unanimously decided to refer the Nabam Rebia ruling to a seven-judge bench. The bench, which held that a substantial question of law remains to be settled, also took into account the conflict between the Nabam Rebia judgment and another five judge bench ruling in Kihoto Hollohan v. Zachillhu & Ors (1992) with regard to the scope of judicial interference in disqualification proceedings against a Speaker at an interlocutory stage.

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