Eknath Shinde could not have been Chief Minister if…: Supreme Court


A panel of five judges of the Supreme Court will consider the case. (to file)

New Delhi:

Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde could not have been sworn in as Maharashtra chief minister had the assembly speaker not been prevented from ruling on disqualification petitions against 39 MLAs, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday.

The Shinde faction had told the court that although 39 MLAs were expelled from the assembly, the Maha Vikas Agadi (MVA) government would fall because it lost its majority and the then chief minister Uddhav Thackeray resigned from the ground. test.

The Thackeray faction had earlier sued that the formation of a new government in Shinde-led Maharashtra was a “direct and inevitable result” of the Supreme Court’s two orders of June 27, 2022 (preventing the Speaker from taking a decision on pending disqualification petitions) and June 29, 2022 (allowing the confidence vote) and “violated the equal and reciprocal balance” between the judicial and legislative bodies of the state.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud told senior counsel Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for the Shinde block, “They (Uddhav faction) are right that Eknath Shinde took oath as Chief Minister and was able to carry it out.” To prove his superiority since the Speaker failed to file a disqualification case against him and other MPs. Mr Kaul said Mr Thackeray resigned after June 29, 2022, because he knew he did not have a majority, and in a ground test on July 4 last year, his coalition won 99 votes to 13 from MVA lawmakers. abstained from voting.

On July 4 last year, Mr. Shinde won a crucial ground test in the state assembly with the support of the BJP and independents. In the chamber consisting of 288 members, 164 deputies voted for the vote of confidence, and 99 voted against it.

Mr. Kaul said, “They (Thackeray faction) knew they didn’t have a majority, even as 13 MLAs who supported them earlier abstained from voting in the ground test. Shinde and the other MPs could not have been disqualified because the Supreme Court’s Nabam 2016 Rebia judgment would have come into effect, according to which the president cannot rule on disqualification petitions while an impeachment petition is pending against him. He remains a member of the house until he is disqualified.

After seeing the voting schedule during the floor test given by Mr. Kaul of the bench, even if the court held that the 2016 conviction of Nabam Rebia was not there, the speaker would have continued to disqualify these MPs, but yes, even if they were. even if disqualified, the government would fall.

Mr. Kaul said, “Exactly. The Prime Minister resigned before the ground test and asked the Governor to prove his supremacy on the floor of the house. I say, what happened? Otherwise he could (the governor). Mr Kaul had initially said that the Shinde faction was never against Thackeray but against keeping the party in the MVA and even their June 21, 2022 resolution indicated that there was widespread resentment among the leaders.

“Our case was never against the then chief minister but we were against the MVA coalition. Shiv Sena had a pre-poll alliance with BJP and after the elections we formed the government with the help of NCP and Congress, against which we contested the elections. We said in our resolution that there is a mass protest among the party workers,” he said.

He alleged that the Uddhav faction had tried to confuse the powers of the three constitutional powers – the governor, the president and the election commission – and now wanted to withdraw all of them, including the July 4 ground test last year. “Legislative party is a component of primary political party. We raised our voice in the party. The mere fact that they (the Uddhav faction) filed a disqualification petition against the Speaker was to stifle the opposition. Under the Tenth Schedule, internal differences in the party are not disqualifications,” said Kaul.

The hearing was inconclusive and will continue on Thursday.

The court on Tuesday asked the Shinde-led faction whether its decision to oppose the Shiv Sena party’s wish to continue the coalition in the MVA constituted disqualification.

Defending its position, the Shinde faction said the legislature party is a component of the original political party and said it had gone along with two whips appointed by the party in June last year, which it said it did not want. continue in coalition.

On February 23, the Uddhav faction told the court that the formation of a new government in Maharashtra under Mr. Shinde was a “direct and inevitable result” of two court orders that “disrupted the balance and interaction” between the judiciary and the judiciary. state legislatures.

A political crisis erupted in Maharashtra following an open rebellion in the Sena and on 29 June 2022, the court refused to stay the Maharashtra Governor’s directive to the 31-month-old MVA government to hold a ground test for the assembly to prove its supremacy. .

On August 23, 2022, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by the then Chief Justice NV Ramana referred to the five-judge bench petitions filed by two factions of the Senate, which raised several constitutional issues related to resignation, merger and disqualification.

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published on a syndicated channel.)

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