NEW DELHI: In a relief to rebel Shiv Sena lawmakers, the Supreme Court Monday kept in abeyance the disqualification proceedings before the Deputy Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly till July 11 and sought responses to pleas by rebel MLAs questioning the legality of notices seeking their disqualification.
The top court, however, refused to pass any interim order on the plea of the Maharashtra government that there should not be any floor test in the Assembly and said they cannot always approach it in case of illegality.
A vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and J B Pardiwala directed the Maharashtra government to protect the life, liberty, and property of 39 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs and their family members.
While issuing notice to the Maharashtra deputy speaker, the top court directed him to put on affidavit records of no trust notice served upon him by rebel MLAs.
The top court also recorded the statement of Maharashtra's counsel that adequate steps have been taken to protect the life and property of rebel MLAs.
The matter will now be heard on July 11
A vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and J B Pardiwala was told by senior advocate N K Kaul, who appeared for the rebel MLAs, that the Uddhav Thackeray group is in the minority of the legislative party and has been subverting the state machinery.
Kaul said that atmosphere is not conducive for these MLAs in Bombay as they have been threatened.
He cited the apex court verdict in the Nabam Rebia case of Arunachal Pradesh and said the deputy speaker is not competent to proceed with the disqualification of MLAs when a plea for his own removal is pending.
Kaul said 39 MLAs are together against the minority group.
Maharashtra Shiv Sena MLA and minister Eknath Shinde have moved the apex court against the disqualification notice issued by the deputy speaker to him and 15 other rebel legislators, calling the action "illegal and unconstitutional" and seeking a stay on it.
Shinde and a sizable number of MLAs rebelled against the leadership of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on June 21 and are currently in Guwahati in Assam.
(With PTI Inputs)