INDIA. MUMBAI: A fresh petition was filed on Friday before the Supreme Court by the Shiv Sena challenging the decision of Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to invite the rebel leader Eknath Shinde to form government in the state.
The petition (Subhash Desai v. Principal Secretary, Governor of Maharashtra) was filed before the vacation bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari by Senior Advocate Devadatt Kamat on behalf of Shiv Sena seeking urgent listing.
However, the bench said that the matter would be heard on July 11 and other cases related to the Maharashtra crisis are already pending before the top court. “It will all come up on July 11,” Justice Banerjee said.
Besides challenging the Governor’s decision to invite Shinde to form the government on June 30, the petition also sought quashing of the proceedings of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly held on July 03 and, consequently, the election of the Speaker during that meeting. The petition also challenged the floor test held on July 04.
Pertinently, the petition prayed that those disqualification proceedings pending against 16 rebel MLAs, including Shinde, be withdrawn from the Speaker and decided by the top court.
The plea said that the “confusion/ambiguity created illegally by the Speaker by recognising a rebel MLA who has voluntarily given up his membership of the Shiv Sena as the leader of the House and also recognising another rebel MLA as the whip of the Shiv Sena – both are in contravention of the clear intent of the Shiv Sena undisputedly led by Shri. Uddhav Thackeray.”
The SC is slated to hear the petition relating to the disqualification of MLAs who had joined the break-away Shinde camp on July 11. According to Desai’s petition, the rebel MLAs led by Shinde have not merged with any other party in the legislative assembly or formed any new political party, as required by the Constitution’s Tenth Schedule. As a result, even if the rebel group has two-thirds of the legislative party’s strength, it would be considered a defection and would not be entitled to the protections outlined in paragraph 4 of the Tenth Schedule.
“The Shiv Sena’s President (Shri Uddhav Thackeray) had publicly and openly stated that he was not aligned with or supported the BJP. In these circumstances, the Governor’s satisfaction in appointing Eknath Shinde (Respondent No. 4) as Chief Minister as the leader of 39 Shiv Sena rebel MLAs (which is not endorsed by the Shiv Sena Political Party) is ex-ante unconstitutional. The Tenth Schedule of the Constitution expressly prohibits the recognition of rebel MLAs of a political party, and the Governor’s action legitimises what the Constitution expressly prohibits. The Governor has attempted to acknowledge what the Constitution forbids.” According to the petition.
The petition added that the Governor is also not empowered under law to recognise “Who is the Shiv Sena” since that falls within the domain of the Election Commission.
Speaking to media at his residence “Matoshri” at Bandra in North Mumbai, Thackeray said there was no question of anyone claiming the break way faction as an authentic “Shiv Sena”. When asked whether the party will vote in favour of NDA Presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu, as suggested by party MPs-Rahul Shewale and Rajendra Gavit, Thackeray said that the matter would be discussed with all MPs before arriving at any decision.
Meanwhile, Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis called on Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi. They discussed the pending issue of the cabinet formation of the new government on Friday evening.