The top court issues show cause notice to Anil Masih.
The Supreme Court on Monday deferred hearing the plea of Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), challenging Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar’s January 10, 2024, decision rejecting their petitions seeking disqualification of the State Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and 38 MLAs backing him and recognising Shinde group as the real Shiv Sena.
Initially the bench said that it will hear the plea of SS (UBT) on Friday – February 16 – but at a later point the bench said at an early date. The hearing on SS (UBT)’s plea was deferred as it did not reach for hearing. The most of the day was consumed in the hearing plea relating to the appointment of judges in subordinate judiciary in Haryana. The hearing on this matter will continue tomorrow as well.
As Chief Justice DY Chandrachud heading a bench also comprising Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra at the end of thew day said that the Shiv Sena (UBT)’s plea would be taken up for hearing at an early date, senior advocate Kapil S8ibal appearing for SS(UBT) urged the court to list the matter soon otherwise elections would be declared.
Senior lawyer Harish Salve and other senior advocates appearing for the Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and other defecting MLAs supporting him questioned the maintainability of the petition filed by the SS (UBT) against the Speaker Rahul Narwekar order refusing to disqualify Shinde and 38 MLAs supporting him and recognising them as representing the real Shiv Sena party.
Sibal told the bench that let them (Shinde faction) file their reply to the SS (UBT)’s petition and also on their objection to the maintainability of the SS (UBT)’s petition to save the time. He said that otherwise they would seek time to file their reply. Sibal told the bench that the notice on SS(UBT) plea was issued on January 22, 2025.
The Supreme Court on January 22, 2024, had issued notice to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and 38 MLAs supporting him on Shiv Sena (UBT)’s plea challenging Speaker Narwekar’s January 10, 2024 order.
Shiv Sena (UBT)’s Chief whip in the State legislature Sunil Prabhu has approached the top court against the Speaker’s decision.
The Chief Minister Eknath Shinde group has approached the Bombay High Court challenging the Speaker Narwekar’s refusal to disqualify the Uddhav Thackeray group MLAs and the High Court has already issued notice on the Shinde group’s petition.
The Thackeray faction in its petition has said that the Speaker Narwekar’s decision was a “colourable” exercise of power based on “extraneous and irrelevant” considerations.
The disqualification petitions against the Shinde and 38 rebel MLAs were filed by Sunil Prabhu, the Shiv Sena legislature party’s Whip appointed by Uddhav Thackeray, on June 23, 2022, after the MLAs backing Shinde revolted against him (Thackeray).
On May 11, 2023, a five-judge Constitution bench had said that it cannot unseat the Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government and reinstate Uddhav Thackeray as Chief Minister because he (Thackeray) chose to resign instead of facing the floor test ordered by the Governor.
In August 2022, the top court’s three-judge bench had referred to a five-judge Constitution bench the issues involved in the petition filed by rival groups of Shiv Sena in relation to the Maharashtra political crisis.
On June 29, 2022, the top court gave a go ahead to the floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly on June 30. It had refused to stay the Maharashtra Governor’s direction to the then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority support on the floor of the House on June 30.
After the June 29, 2022, order, Uddhav Thackeray announced his resignation as the Chief Minister and Eknath Shinde was later sworn-in as the Chief Minister.