NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Sunday ordered Maharashtra Governor to produce the relevant record on Monday along with letter of support, in response to the plea filed by NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena against swearing-in of BJP's Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister.
The apex court asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to produce at 10:30 am on Monday the letter that was submitted to the Governor by Fadnavis staking claim to form Government.
It also issued notices to Fadnavis and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and the Centre. Appropriate orders will be passed thereafter.
The plea of the three parties also urged the court to direct an immediate floor test like it had ordered floor tests in Karnataka and Goa, within 24-48 hours, reducing the time given to the parties staking a claim to ensure that there is no horse trading.
The plea had also sought directions from the court for directing a special assembly session so that the MLAs can be administered oath followed by the floor test.
The petition also sought to scrutinise records of the Governor's office to determine how the former had the subjective satisfaction of Fadnavis-led BJP enjoying a majority in the House.
Congress leader and senior advocate Kapil Sibal, while begining the arguments, informed the bench of Justices NV Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna that the pre-poll alliance of BJP and Shiv Sena broke down and the opposition parties have forged dealing with a post-poll alliance in the state.
"They revoked President's rule, no Cabinet meeting was held. If there is no Cabinet meeting, there must be a national emergency," he said to the court.
"Court should order floor test today itself. If BJP has majority, let them prove in assembly. If they don’t, let us stake the claim," he said.
"When somebody (else) had announced that we are forming the government, the act of Governor is biased, malafide, contrary to all laws established by this Court," Sibal further added.
The Sena-NCP-Congress lawyers also said that it was a 'betrayal and annihilation' of democracy that the government has been allowed to be formed when 41 NCP MLAs are not with the BJP.
"We have seen this in Karnataka also. If they (BJP) have the majority, then let them show their majority," Sibal said.
"At 5.37 am yesterday President's Rule was revoked and at 8 am, two persons sworn-in as CM & Deputy CM. What documents were given?
When the bench asked Sibal about the timing of the letter of support given to the Governor, the advocate said, "We don't know."
Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for the BJP, said that there was no fundamental rights violation in this case.
"I don’t know why there is hearing on Sunday, there should not be any hearing on Sunday. According to me this matter (Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress' plea) should not be listed," he further said.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta clarified that he was not representing the Maharashtra Governor and was appearing since he was served the copy of the plea last night.
Mehta, appearing for the Centre, also said political parties do not have the fundamental right to form a government and their plea can't be allowed.
Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, while appearing for the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena, said, "Governor must satisfy himself about the signatures. When NCP expelled Ajit Pawar as leader, how was he allowed to take oath as deputy CM. From the 54 NCP MLAs, 41 signed a letter and sent it to the Governor and declared the removal of Ajit Pawar as legislature party chief."
"When the announcement was made at 7 pm that we are staking claim to form the government and Uddhav Thackeray will lead it, couldn’t the Governor wait?" Singhvi informed the apex court bench.
All the three parties also informed the apex court that they are ready for the floor test anytime.
Singhvi refered to judgements in various cases including the dismissal of Uttarakhand Congress government, saying that the floor test is ultimate test.
He also referred to the 2018 apex court order in the Karnataka case and said the floor test was ordered and there was no secret ballot.
"Floor test is the constitutional obligation of democracy. Supreme Court has consistently ordered floor tests to be held immediately whether it’s in UP in 1998 or Karnataka in 2018. How can it be possible that who took oath yesterday claiming majority, is today shying away from floor test? May the best person win, let’s have the composite floor today or tomorrow," Singhvi said.
Rohatgi, during his arguments, also said, "Governor has immunity under article 361. Can the SC order the Governor to advance the floor test? The petition is without annexures, they don’t know anything, they were sleeping for three weeks. There is no supporting document to their claims."
"There is no need for court to pass order today. There was no illegality in Governor decision. Court should not pass order to fix date of floor test. The three parties here have no fundamental rights. There are some things that are with the President which are not even open to judicial intervention," he further added.
He also sought two or three days should be given before an order is passed and the BJP should be given time so that all facts on record can be brought on affidavit.
(With Agencies Inputs)