The SC will hear the pleas of the Sena groups on February 14

New Delhi: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday, February 14, heard the petitions filed by rival factions of Uddhav Thackeray and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde regarding the political crisis in Maharashtra.
“We will hear it on February 14,” said a five-judge constitution bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justices MR Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha. At the outset, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Thackeray group, told the bench that in the last hearing, he had indicated that he wanted to argue the need for a seven-judge bench to hear the case.
The SC first heard arguments on whether the case should be heard by a seven-judge bench or a five-judge bench.
On the last date of hearing, Sibal told the Supreme Court that he would argue the case before a seven-judge bench. Sibal sought reference of the five-judge bench judgment in the Nabam Rabia case to a seven-judge bench.
On 13 July 2016, a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court in the Nabam Rebia case ruled that the Speaker cannot initiate disqualification proceedings when a resolution seeking his removal is pending.
Earlier, a group led by Uddhav Thackeray told the Supreme Court that an unconstitutional government was running in Maharashtra.
In August, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court had referred to a five-judge constitution bench the issues contained in a petition filed by rival factions of the Shiv Sena regarding the Maharashtra political crisis.
It had said that a larger constitution bench may be required to consider certain issues involved in Maharashtra’s political crisis.

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He also demanded Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narvekar not to take any action on the fresh disqualification notices issued against Shiv Sena members.
Various petitions from both groups of Shiv Sena are pending in the Supreme Court.
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari’s decision to invite Eknath Shinde to form the government as well as the decision to conduct floor test and election of the Speaker was challenged in the Supreme Court by the Thackeray-led group. He later challenged the Shinde group to come to the polling panel claiming that they were the ‘real’ Shiv Sena.
He had also challenged the action of the newly appointed Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha Speaker considering Eknath Shinde group’s whip as Shiv Sena’s whip. The petition states that the newly appointed Speaker has no right to accept the whip appointed by Shinde as Uddhav Thackeray is still the official party chief of the Shiv Sena.
Thackeray camp’s Sunil Prabhu had filed a petition seeking suspension of new Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and 15 rebel MLAs against whom a disqualification petition is pending from the Maharashtra Assembly.
The Shinde group challenged the disqualification notices issued by the deputy speaker to 16 rebel MLAs and the appointment of Ajay Chaudhary as the Shiv Sena legislature party leader, which is also pending in the Supreme Court.
On June 29, the Supreme Court allowed the floor test of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on June 30. The Governor of Maharashtra refused to suspend the directive to the then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority in the House. On June 30, the bench had issued a notice on Prabhu’s petition against the floor test.
After the Supreme Court order, Uddhav Thackeray announced his resignation as Chief Minister and later Eknath Shinde was sworn in as Chief Minister.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by HW News staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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