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Shiv Sena MLAs Rebellion, SC Provides Interim Relief to the Rebels

A petition is filed in Bombay High Court seeking action against the rebels for showing disrespect to public rights

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Raju Vernekar
Raju Vernekar
Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

INDIA. MUMBAI: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday granted interim relief to the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs by staying the disqualification notices served on them by Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker, calling for immediate replies to notices served earlier. The matter will be heard again on July 11.

Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal had directed the rebel MLAs to file a written reply by Monday evening (5.30 pm). However, the SC extended the date for response to the Deputy Speaker’s disqualification notices till July 12 (till 5.30 pm).

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On Monday, the vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala also directed the Shiv Sena party Chief and the Secretary of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly to file their counter-affidavits, if any, within five days.

The bench also noted that the State should make sure that the right granted to every citizen is protected. “State counsel for Maharashtra states that State Government shall further ensure that no harm is caused to the life and properties of all the 39 MLAs and their family members.”

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The Court was hearing the petition preferred by rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde challenging the disqualification notices issued by the Deputy Speaker for proceedings under the tenth schedule of the Constitution over alleged defection. It was also considering another writ petition filed by Bharat Gogawale and 14 other Shiv Sena MLAs seeking to restrain the Deputy Speaker from taking any action in the disqualification petition until the resolution for removal of the Deputy Speaker is decided.

Zirwal had initially issued notice to 12 MLAs, including Shinde. Subsequently, the notices were issued to four other rebels. Now with SC directions, Shinde and 15 others have received temporary relief.

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Based on the reports of the rebels reaching Guwahati(Assam) via Surat(Gujarat) on June 20, the Shiv Sena, on June 21, announced the appointment of MLA Ajay Chowdhary (Shivdi Vidhan Sabha constituency) as the party’s Group leader of the Shiv Sena Legislature Party(SLP) in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, replacing Shinde. The letter communicating the appointment of Chowdhary, signed by 17 Shiv Sena MLAs, was handed over to Zirwal, by Shiv Sena MLAs Sunil Prabhu and Uday Samant. The Shiv Sena also appointed MLA Sunil Prabhu as the whip of the party.

As against this, on June 22, a letter was sent to Zirwal by a rebel group from Guwahati Shinde stating that Shinde had been elected as the leader of the SLP and, in turn, he had appointed MLA Bharat Ghogawale (Mahad, Raigad) as the whip the appointment of Ajay Chowdhary as the leader of the SLP was unconstitutional.

On Monday, the rebel group contended that Zirwal cannot issue disqualification notifications because a “No confidence” petition against him is still ongoing. Fourteen days have not passed since the Deputy Speaker received the rebel group’s letter. However, the Speaker contended that the rebel group’s email was not delivered to the parliamentary office. The deputy speaker exercises judicial authority. The Speaker has the right to inquire about the sender of a letter sent hastily and not to the registered office.

Petition against the rebels

In another development, a petition was filed before the Bombay High Court seeking a directive to rebel Shiv Sena MLAs to immediately return to Maharashtra from Guwahati, where they are currently camped, on Monday.

The petition filed through advocates Asim Sarode and Ajinkya Udane sought appropriate action against the rebel MLAs for showing disrespect to public rights and good governance.
The plea was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Makarand Karnik on Monday, and the bench stated that it would hear the matter soon.

Referring to section 268 of the Indian Penal Code, which penalizes public nuisance, the petition claimed that the ongoing “political nuisance” could not be excused as it affects the public. As such, the Court should decide this “question of law” in the background of the rebellion by the Sena MLAs. The petition also asked how the rebel MLAs were footing the expense of staying at lavish hotels and taking chartered planes for their travel.

“It was stated that they were staying at the Le Meridian in Surat and the Radisson Blue Hotel in Guwahati. It is important for taxpayers to understand how their elected officials spend such large sums of money, and whether they use public cash to fly in chartered planes and stay in luxurious five-star hotels” ,The plea added.

Additionally, the petition claimed that the majority of the dissident MLAs are serving ministers, including cabinet minister Eknath Shinde, who oversees the department of urban development (UDD). In addition, Guwahati is home to Agriculture Minister Dada Bhuse. The current growing season is extremely important for farmers, and the concerned Agriculture Minister must make a number of decisions.

In a related event, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday transferred the dissident ministers’ portfolios to other members of the government. According to Thackeray, the government took these actions so that the State’s citizens wouldn’t suffer.

In the meanwhile, amid a political crisis, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut in connection with a case related to irregularities in the Patra Chawl redevelopment project at Mumbai’s Goregaon in North Mumbai on Tuesday. However, Raut said that he would seek more time from the ED to make an appearance.

Also Read: Sonia Gandhi’s Personal Secretary Accused Of Rape, Case Filed

Author

  • Raju Vernekar

    Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

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