On Wednesday, the Supreme Court said some cases related to the dispute between the Shiv Sena factions – led by Prime Minister Eknath Shinde and Udhav Thackeray – may be referred to a larger court. The court gave the parties until July 27 to frame their cases for the larger court, and said the case would be discussed again on August 1.
The Supreme Court was hearing a set of petitions related to the political crisis in Maharashtra, which led to the downfall of the Maha Vikas Agadi government in the state. Thackeray resigned as Prime Minister on 29 June. Shinde, who had led the rebellion against Thackeray, was sworn in the following day along with BJP leader and former Vice President Devendra Fadnavis.
Thackeray’s faction has moved to the Supreme Court to challenge the disqualification proceedings initiated against MLAs under the constitutional scheme.
He also appealed the decision of the Maharashtra State Assembly Speaker to recognize the whip nominated by the Shinde faction as Chief Shiv Sena. “A speaker who recognizes a whip other than the official whip nominated by the party is Malavid,” Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for the Thackeray faction, told the court chaired by Chief Justice Ramana of India Nevada and which includes Justices Krishna Murari and Hema Kohli.
Sibal also argued that Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari should not have taken the oath of office to the new government when the case was taken to the Supreme Court.
Sibal also argued that democracy is in danger if the governments of any country can be overthrown despite prohibitions under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution. He said that under Schedule X, 40 Sena MLAs who switched over to the Shinde camp would be deemed to have incurred disqualification by giving up party membership; by voting for a candidate that the BJP has placed as president in violation of the official whip; And by vote of confidence in violation of the official whip.
“What happens to rule the people? The schedule that was used to prevent a defection has been used to instigate a defection. In other words, the tenth schedule has been turned upside down,” Sibal was quoted by Bar & Bench Network as saying.
Senior defender Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who also appeared in Thackeray camp, said the requirement in Schedule X is that not only two-thirds of the participants should be with you, but also two-thirds should be combined with another party. “One thing in common is that my friends have not merged with another party. They don’t call themselves the BJP,” he said, urging the council to “go back in time and back in time.”
Prominent advocate Harish Salve, who showed up at the Shendi camp, said there was nothing wrong if “a large number of people in the party felt that another man should lead”.
LiveLaw quotes Salvi as saying, “The moment you gather enough strength within the party and remain within the party to question the leader without leaving the party, and say we’re going to beat you at home, that’s not a dissent.”
The CJI-led court on 11 July granted a temporary exemption to MLAs from the Thackeray faction by asking Maharashtra Assembly President Rahul Narwikar not to proceed with a petition seeking their exclusion, as requested by the Shinde group on the basis of challenging the party’s whip. During the confidence and election of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.