[Maharashtra Politics] Supreme Court asks Speaker not to take any action on disqualification petitions

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The Supreme Court on Monday asked the new speaker of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Rahul Narwekar not to take any action on the new disqualification notices issued to 53 Shiv Sena Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs).

This was after the matter was mentioned before Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana by Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal on behalf of Uddhav Thackeray camp’s Sunil Prabhu.

Prabhu is the chief whip of Shiv Sena.

“The disqualification plea is listed tomorrow before the speaker. Let there be no disqualification till the matter is decided,” Sibal said.

“Please inform the assembly speaker not to take any decision unless the plea is decided,” the CJI told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing on behalf of the Maharashtra Governor.

“This matter will require constitution of bench and will take some time to be listed. Not tomorrow. But inform the speaker what we said,” the CJI added.

At least four petitions are pending before the apex court on the issue in which Sunil Prabhu is a party:

(i) WP (C) No. 468 of 2022 (respondent No. 4

(ii) WP (C) No. 469 of 2022 (respondent No. 5)

(iii) WP (C) No. 470 of 2022 (petitioner)

(iv) WP (C) No. 479 of 2022 (petitioner)

The first two writ petitions pertain to petitions filed by delinquent MLAs of Shiv Sena challenging the disqualification proceedings initiated by the Deputy Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly on disqualification petitions filed by Sunil Prabhu.

The third writ petition filed by Prabhu has challenged the illegal summoning of the Assembly by the Governor of Maharashtra for conduct of a floor test.

The fourth is a petition filed by Prabhu challenging the illegal order of the newly appointed speaker removing Ajay Chaudhary and Sunil Prabhu respectively from the posts of leader as well as Chief Whip of the Shivsena Legislature Party.

Maharashtra got embroiled in political crisis after Cabinet Minister, and now new Chief Minister, Eknath Shinde and a rebel group of MLAs left the State first for Surat in Gujarat and then for Guwahati.

The Shinde group has expressed its displeasure with the alliance by Shiv Sena with the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party, then headed by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

Some of the rebel MLAs then received disqualification notices from the Deputy Speaker for acting against party whip while voting for the MLC elections in the State.

The rebel MLAs then approached the top court against the disqualification notices.

The Supreme Court on June 27 granted interim relief to Shinde and his rebel group of MLAs by extending the time to file response to the disqualification notice sent by the Deputy Speaker, till July 12.

Subsequently, the Court on June 29 also gave the go-ahead to a floor test called for by the Governor.

This had led to the fall of Mahavikas Aghadi government led by Uddhav Thackeray and a new government led by Eknath Shinde was sworn in.

Subsequently, new speaker was elected by the assembly and he has sent disqualification notices to 53 out of 55 Shiv Sena MLAs.

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