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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Supreme Court Adjourns Hearing of the Petitions Related to Shiv Sena Split 

The uncertainty over the cabinet expansion prevails

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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 uncertainty over the Government formed by Shiv Sena rebels led by Eknath Shinde with support from the BJP continued when the Supreme Court postponed the hearing of the petitions related to the split in the Shiv Sena till August 1, Wednesday.

Amid the feud between Uddhav Thackeray and Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, a bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Krishna Murari, and Hima Kohli directed both factions to file their statements by July 27.

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While the Shinde camp has moved the SC against the disqualification proceedings against them, the Thackeray faction has challenged the formation of the Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government and the subsequent proceedings.

The bench also directed the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker not to rule any disqualification petitions, hinting at forming a larger bar in the future. The Supreme Court also directed the secretary of the Legislative Assembly to keep all records in safe custody.

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The Supreme Court ruled in its order, “Following the hearing of the counsels; it was agreed that some issues would be referred to a larger bench if necessary. Keeping this in mind, let the parties file the issues as soon as possible, preferably by next Wednesday. We request that both parties prepare a compilation. The deadline is August 1.”

Arguments in the SC

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Uddhav Thackeray camp, argued that democracy is jeopardised if governments in any state can be deposed despite the Constitution’s tenth schedule prohibition. He contended that Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari should not have sworn in Eknath Shinde as Chief Minister because 40 Shiv Sena MLAs were deemed to have incurred disqualification by violating the party whip.

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Senior advocate Harish Salve, who appeared on behalf of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, stated that disqualification proceedings had stifled internal party democracy. He mentioned, “What is wrong with a large number of people in a party believing that another man should lead? It is not defection when you gather enough strength within the party and stay within the party to question the leader without leaving the party and saying, “We will defeat you in the house.” 

Most importantly, during the hearing, the CJI stated that removing the Legislature Party leader is within the purview of party MLAs. Meanwhile, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi said disqualification would be avoided if two-thirds of MLAs joined another party.

The pleas filed by both sides: 

1. Eknath Shinde and 15 other MLAs challenged the disqualification proceedings against them and Shinde’s replacement as Legislative Party leader with Ajay Choudhari.

2. Sunil Prabhu, chief whip of the Uddhav Thackeray faction, requested a stay on the floor test scheduled for June 30.

3. Prabhu filed an interlocutory application seeking the interim suspension of rebel Shiv Sena MLAs until the final adjudication of the disqualification proceedings against them a day after Eknath Shinde took oath as Maharashtra CM.

4. Minutes before the vote of confidence on July 4, the Thackeray camp challenged newly-elected Speaker Rahul Narwekar’s decision to reinstate Eknath Shinde as Shiv Sena Legislature Party (SLP) leader and replace Prabhu as Chief Whip with Bharat Gogawale.

5. On July 8, the Uddhav Thackeray camp challenged Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s decision to invite Shinde to form the Government and the Speaker’s election and vote of confidence, which were held on July 3 and 4, respectively.

Reacting to the adjournment of the matter Shiv Sena MP from Mumbai South Arvind Sawant said that since the case is pending in the SC, the Shinde-BJP Government cannot go ahead with cabinet expansion and cannot officially function only with the CM and Deputy Chief Minister.

However, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis maintained that the SC directions to maintain the status quo are related only to the disqualification of MLAs and no other matters. It is good that the issue is being referred to the larger bench. “We were busy with the Presidential elections and now will expand the cabinet soon”, he added.

Also Read: Shiv Sena to Seek Urgent Hearing of Petitions before Supreme Court on Monday

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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