Uddhav Thackeray camp moves SC; challenges govt formation, Speaker’s election & floor test

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The legal battle between the Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde factions of Shiv Sena escalated as the former has approached the Supreme Court once again.

Uddhav Thackeray, SC

Image: Twitter/Facebook

The legal tussle between the Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde factions of Shiv Sena escalated as the former approached the Supreme Court once again. The petition filed by Sena general secretary Subhash Desai has challenged the decision of Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to invite Shinde to form the government in the state on June 30 after Thackeray’s resignation. It reportedly contended that the Governor’s move was ex-facie unconstitutional as the rebels led by Shinde haven’t merged with any other party and are therefore liable to be disqualified.

At present, 40 out of 55 Shiv Sena MLAs are backing the Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government. The Uddhav camp also urged the SC to quash the proceedings of the state Assembly held on July 3 and 4. Recently, the Speaker’s election and the vote of confidence were held. The Shinde government not only managed to get BJP’s Rahul Narwekar elected as the Speaker but also proved its majority with a 164-99 margin. 

Uddhav Thackeray-led faction moves Supreme Court challenging the Maharashtra Governor’s June 30th decision to invite Eknath Shinde to form government in Maharashtra and election of the Speaker in the Assembly. pic.twitter.com/UZt6zNuZ1J

— ANI (@ANI) July 8, 2022

Proceedings in Supreme Court

On June 27, an SC bench comprising Justices Kant and Pardiwala extended the time granted by Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal to 16 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs to submit their response to the disqualification petition until July 12. They had challenged the disqualification proceedings initiated against them and Shinde’s replacement as the Legislative Party leader. The MVA government received another blow as the SC refused to entertain chief whip Sunil Prabhu’s plea seeking a stay on the floor test scheduled for June 30. Minutes after the order, Uddhav Thackeray resigned as the Maharashtra CM. 

After Eknath Shinde took oath as the CM of Maharashtra on June 30, Prabhu moved the SC seeking the interim suspension of the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs until the adjudication of the disqualification proceedings against them. In his plea, Prabhu contended that the act of the rebels toppling the Uddhav Thackeray-led government and staking a claim to form a new government by aligning with the opposition party attracts instant disqualification. Appearing for him, Kapil Sibal argued that Shinde violated the 10th schedule of the Constitution the moment he was sworn in as the CM as his group hadn’t merged with any party. 

Denying any immediate relief, the SC agreed to look into this interlocutory application on July 11 when the matter pertaining to the disqualification proceedings will also be heard. Minutes before the vote of confidence on July 4, the Thackeray camp approached the apex court yet again challenging newly-elected Speaker Rahul Narwekar’s decision to reinstate Shinde as the Shiv Sena Legislature Party leader and replace Prabhu as the Chief Whip with Bharat Gogawale. The SC will hear this plea on July 11 along with the other petitions regarding the Maharashtra crisis. 

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