Maharashtra crisis: SC to hear plea of Uddhav faction against Speaker's decision on party whip

After discussing the legalities of the matter, the Speaker has rejected the appointment of Sena MLA Ajay Chaudhary as the group leader of the legislative unit of the party, a letter by Narvekar said.

Published: 04th July 2022 11:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th July 2022 11:17 AM   |  A+A-

CM Uddhav Thackeray asked to prove majority.

Uddhav Thackeray and rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde. (File Photo)

By Online Desk

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday agreed to hear on July 11 a fresh plea of the Uddhav Thackeray faction challenging the decision of the newly- elected Speaker of the Maharashtra legislative assembly to recognise the new party whip of Shiv Sena rebels led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.

A vacation bench headed by Justice Indira Banerjee said the fresh plea would be heard by the same bench after the summer break on July 11 along with other pending pleas.

"The speaker has no jurisdiction to recognise whips. This is changing the status quo of proceedings before this court. The speaker yesterday at the stroke of pen at midnight elected the whip," senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for the Thackeray group, said.

"I do not have the papers in front of me. Let all of this come up together on July 11," Justice Banerjee said.

Speaker Rahul Narvekar has reinstated Eknath Shinde as Shiv Sena legislature party leader, removing Ajay Chaudhary.

Narvekar also recognised the appointment of Bharat Gogawale from the Shinde camp as the chief whip of the Sena, removing Sunil Prabhu, who belongs to the Thackeray faction.

The trust vote will be held in the Assembly on Monday, the last day of the special two-day session of the House.

In a statement late Sunday night, Narvekar said the Maharashtra Legislature secretariat had received a letter from the Shinde-led group on June 22 objecting to his removal by Thackeray as the group leader of the Shiv Sena legislature party.

After discussing the legalities of the matter, the Speaker has rejected the appointment of Sena MLA Ajay Chaudhary as the group leader of the legislative unit of the party, a letter by Narvekar said.

The development comes as a major setback to the Thackeray faction comprising 16 MLAs who will be bound by the whip to be issued by Gogawale for the trust vote.

If these 16 MLAs refuse to follow the whip, they face disqualification.

Reacting to the development, Shiv Sena chief MP Arvind Sawant said his party will challenge this "unconstitutional" decision in court.

"Former Secretary-General of Lok Sabha P D T Acharya has given directives that the party leader (chief) has the right to appoint the group leader of the legislative unit of that party. How can you say that (Eknath Shinde) is the (legislative) party leader?"

"We will challenge this decision in court. This is highly unfortunate. The decision is taken on Sunday late night which speaks volumes about how it must have been taken," said Sawant.

He alleged that the decision amounts to trampling the Constitution and democratic norms.

"The BJP is marching towards autocracy," Sawant added.

Ousted Shiv Sena group leader Ajay Chaudhary said the new Speaker did not even conduct any hearing over the objections of both sides.

"When my name was proposed for the Shiv Sena group leader's post, it was signed by Shiv Sena MLAs Dada Bhuse and Sanjay Rathod. They both later joined the Shinde camp. How can the Speaker ignore these facts? When my appointment was recognised by acting speaker Narhari Zirwal, how come the newly-appointed Speaker Rahul Narvekar can intervene?" he asked.

(With PTI Inputs)



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