SC agrees to give early hearing to Uddhav Thackeray faction’s plea against Maha Speaker’s decision

The Bench however, did not fix any date to hear the appeal of Uddhav Thackeray faction.
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday decided to hear and list it on the petition filed by Uddhav Thackeray faction of Shiv Sena challenging the order of Maharashtra Speaker Rahul Narwekar on the dismissal of disqualification pleas against Chief Minister Eknath Shinde faction MLAs.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for Thackeray group mentioned the matter before the Apex Court, for an early hearing of the case saying it can be listed else elections are to be held.

A bench of the Apex Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dr Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud said, the matter would be listed for hearing. He, however, did not fix any date to hear the appeal of Uddhav Thackeray faction.

Last month, the Supreme Court had also issued notice to Eknath Shinde and 38 MLAs of his group on Sunil Prabhu’s (Thackeray faction) plea challenging Speaker’s order.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray
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The appeal was filed by the aggrieved Uddhav Thackeray-led faction before the Supreme Court challenging the Maharashtra State Assembly Speaker's order, refusing to disqualify Eknath Shinde and 15 other MLAs.

The faction also challenged the Speaker's order of ruling that Eknath Shinde-led group is the real Shiv Sena. They need the Supreme Court's directions for a reversal of the State Assembly Speaker's January 10 order.

Maharashtra State Assembly Speaker, Rahul Narwekar on January 10 had in his order declared that the faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde was “the real political party” and "real Shiv Sena".

Besides challenging the recognizing Shinde faction as the real Shiv Sena, UT group has also challenged before the Top court the dismissal of the disqualification pleas against Shinde faction MLAs who rebelled & split party in June 2022 and bringing Sena (UT) MLAs under Shinde faction's control.

The UT Group's petition copy, revealed that the state Assembly Speaker's orders are erroneous, as it holds that the 2018 leadership structure cannot be relied upon as it purportedly does not confirm with the provisions of the Shivsena constitution.

"The orders of the State Assembly Speaker, is, without the consideration of the main grounds of the disqualification pleas, which have been filed by them (UT group)," the plea stated.

"The Speaker's order is ex-facie ultra vires the provisions of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution in as much as it appreciates the legislative majority of the ‘Shinde faction’ for the purpose of determining who is the political party. The order is a complete colourable exercise of power and is based on extraneous and irrelevant considerations. The Speaker has relied upon ‘legislative majority’ to determine who is the real political party," the petition of UT faction, said.

The Speaker must not base their decision as to which group constitutes the political party on a blind appreciation of which group possesses a majority in the Legislative Assembly. This is not a game of numbers, but of something more, it said.

The Speaker’s order is also in flagrant violation of the judgement of the Supreme Court in Subhash Desai, which has categorically laid down the fundamental difference between ‘legislature party’ and ‘political party’, the plea said.

"The Speaker's orders in prima facie determining ‘which faction is the political party’ under the Tenth Schedule has by a roving enquiry and perverse reasoning has held the leadership structure of the Shiv Sena cannot be relied upon for the purpose of determining Shiv Sena Political Party," the plea said.

The Speaker's order is completely perverse in its appreciation on merits as it has not even considered the admitted factual position regarding disqualification under relevant statute. These are simply brushed away by stating that since ‘Shinde faction’ has been held to be the political party “none of the grounds could be a ground to seek disqualification”, it said.

The Speaker has perversely failed to consider the clear evidence demonstrating the service of whips on the MLAs through unimpeached emails, the plea said.

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