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Supreme Court to Hear the Issue of Disqualification of Maharashtra MLAs Today

The cases are related to the disqualification of 16 Shiv Sena MLAs

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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 five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court (SC) comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, MR Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli, and PS Narasimha will begin hearing the cases related to the Maharashtra political crisis on Tuesday.

The cases are related to the disqualification of 16 Shiv Sena MLAs by the then Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal on June 25, the validity of the Eknath Shinde government sworn-in on June 30 and the powers of the speaker and governor.

On September 27, the Supreme Court refused to stay the Election Commission (EC)’s proceedings to decide who commands the “real” Shiv Sena, Eknath Shinde or Uddhav Thackeray.

Subsequently, in an interim order dated October 08, the EC allotted the title — “Shiv Sena ( Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray)” with the election symbol of “Flaming Torch” to former CM and Party President Uddhav Thackeray.

Similarly, the EC allotted the title “Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena” with the symbol of “Shield and sword” to the Shinde faction in its subsequent order.

The political crisis began when Shinde and 34 rebel MLAs were taken to Surat (Gujarat) on June 20. They were moved to Guwahati (Assam) on June 22 and to Goa on June 30, apparently by the BJP.

Thackeray removed Shinde as leader of the Shiv Sena legislature party (SLP) and appointed Ajay Chowdhary as the SLP leader on June 20. The next day, Zirwal recognised Choudhary’s appointment.

On June 22, Shiv Sena Chief Whip MLA Sunil Prabhu issued a whip asking MLAs to attend the SLP meeting organised in Mumbai that evening. Shinde challenged the order of his removal as the SLP leader.

On June 25, Shinde and 15 rebel MLAs were sent disqualification notices by Zirwal seeking their replies by 5:30 pm on June 27. On June 26, the Shinde faction challenged the notices in two different written petitions before the Supreme Court. On June 27, the Supreme Court ordered a status quo till July 11 in the matter.

A vacation bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala also asked the Shinde faction to respond to the notices till July 11, and the Thackeray faction was advised to approach the apex court if any attempt to conduct a floor test to change the status of the Assembly was made.

On June 28, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari asked Thackeray to prove the majority of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government led by him on the floor of the assembly in a special session on June 30.

In turn, on June 29, Thackeray moved the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the Special Session. However, the Supreme Court refused to grant the stay. On the same night, Thackeray resigned as the chief minister.

On June 30, Shinde and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis were sworn-in as the CM and Deputy Chief Minister, respectively. On July 3, Rahul Narvekar (BJP) was elected as the Speaker of the Assembly, securing 164 votes against the 107 votes bagged by Rajan Salvi (Shiv Sena). On July 4, the Shinde faction won the floor test by 65 votes (164 votes against 99 votes secured by the MVA).

A bunch of petitions filed by both factions came for hearing before a vacation bench a number of times. However, the matter remained inconclusive.

It was heard on August 03, by the bench comprising former Chief Justice NV Ramana, Justice Krishna Murari, and Justice Hima Kohli. On August 23, the Supreme Court referred the petitions to a five-judge bench. On September 7, the bench adjourned the matter till Sept 27.

According to senior lawyer Ujjwal Nikam, an MLA can be disqualified if he/she disobeys the whip, attracting the Anti-Defection Act 1985 (amended in 2003). The MLAs facing disqualification can save themselves from disqualification by merging with another political party.

Such issues fall under section 2 of the Xth schedule of the Constitution and are usually referred to the Speaker of the Assembly.

In this case, it is not clear whether the matter will be referred to the former Deputy Speaker, Narhari Zirwal, or the current Speaker, Rahul Narvekar, he added.

Also Read: EC Freezes Shiv Sena’s “Bow and Arrow” Symbol ahead of Andheri By-poll


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

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