The Supreme Court on Monday declined to pass an interim order on the Maharashtra government counsel’s submissions that there should not be any floor test in the Assembly till July 11, as it extended, till July 12, the time granted to the 16 dissident MLAs to submit their response to the disqualification notices.
A bench of Justices Surya Kant and J.B. Pardiwala said it cannot pass an order, which would create unnecessary complications. It told senior advocate Devdutt Kamat, representing the Maharashtra government, that if anything illegal happens, then he can always come back to the top court.
As Kamat said if disqualification proceedings are put in abeyance, then there should not be any floor test in the Assembly, the bench said: “On presumptions, can we pass (an order)…”.
Then as Kamat urged the court to give his client the liberty to come to the court if there is an attempt to alter the status quo, Justice Surya Kant said: “Do you need our liberty… Let us not create any complications on the basis of apprehensions not founded now.”
The top court scheduled the matter for further hearing on July 11.
Kamat added that no court has ever granted a stay of disqualification process and the proceedings of the House will be interdicted as he questioned the maintainability of the petitions by Shinde and rebel Shiv Sena MLAs.
He made these submissions in a last-ditch effort while the bench was wrapping up the hearing of the petitions by Eknath Shinde and other rebel MLAs of Shiv Sena challenging the disqualification notices issued by the Deputy Speaker to them and also the appointment of Ajay Choudhari as Shiv Sena Legislature Party leader.
During the hearing, Kamat said to express no-confidence in the Chief Minister, no reason is to be given “but as far as Speaker is concerned, please see Article 179, the word used is ‘removal’.”
“For removal, reasons have to be given. Members can’t merely say they have no confidence,” he said.
The rebel MLAs of Shiv Sena have moved a motion to remove Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal. They claimed this motion was moved before Zirwal issued disqualification notices to them.
The top court extended the time given by the Deputy Speaker to the rebel MLAs to file written responses to the disqualification notices, which was to end at 5.30 p.m. on Monday, to 5.30 p.m. on July 12.
The top court asked the Maharashtra government to ensure protection of rebel MLAs and the state government undertook that it would take immediate and adequate measures to protect lives, liberty, and properties of 39 rebel MLAs and their family members.