Uddhav; fighting for survival.

Can’t restore Uddhav as CM; resigned before floor test: Supreme Court

Maha Governor not justified in calling upon Uddhav to prove majority

Prashun Bhaumik | New Delhi | 11 May, 2023 | 11:10 PM

Chief Justice DY Chandrachud held that House Speaker's decision to appoint Bharat Gogawale of the Shinde faction as the whip of Shiv Sena was "illegal".

The Supreme Court today said that the Maharashtra Governor was not justified in calling upon then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to prove majority in the Assembly on June 30 last year but refused to order status quo ante, saying he did not face the floor test and resigned.

In a unanimous verdict on a batch of pleas related to the political crisis that led to the fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government led by Uddhav Thackeray following a revolt by the Eknath Shinde faction, a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud held that House speaker’s decision to appoint Bharat Gogawale of the Shinde faction as the whip of Shiv Sena was “illegal”.

It, however, said since Mr Thackeray had resigned without facing the floor test, the governor was justified in inviting Mr Shinde to form government at the behest of the BJP which was the largest political party in the house.

Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar said he will complete the process of ascertaining who represents the original Shiv Sena as a political organization in a reasonable time, adding that he would give a hearing to all sides.

“I welcome the Supreme Court’s ruling that has asked the Speaker of the Assembly to recognise a political party. I will try to complete it in a reasonable time,” he said.

The Supreme Court said it cannot ordinarily adjudicate disqualification petitions against legislators under the anti-defection law and directed the Maharashtra Assembly speaker to take a decision on such pleas against Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and other MLAs within a reasonable period.

A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud rejected the submission of the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena that the top court should adjudicate the pending disqualification petitions against Mr Shinde and others on the ground that the incumbent speaker, Rahul Narwekar, is biased.

“This court cannot ordinarily adjudicate petitions for disqualification under the Tenth Schedule in the first instance. There are no extraordinary circumstances in the instant case that warrant the exercise of jurisdiction by this court to adjudicate disqualification petitions. The speaker must decide the disqualification petitions within a reasonable period,” the bench said.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray said the Supreme Court’s ruling on the 2022 political crisis in Maharashtra has vindicated his long-held stand that the Eknath Shinde-led government is “illegal and unconstitutional”.

Bhagat Singh Koshyari said he had done what he felt was right at the time, and that it was the job of journalists and lawyers to discuss the Supreme Court’s decision.

Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who argued for Uddhav Thackeray’s side in Supreme Court in Maharashtra political crisis case on Thursday questioned the moral and legal right of the Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra Govt to continue.

Hours after Supreme Court held that the decision by the former Maharashtra Governor, asking Uddhav Thackeray to face a floor test, was “not justified”, State Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Thursday said that the then titular head of the richest state acted as per the situation at the time.

“I won’t talk about what Supreme Court said about the then Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, but I would say that he acted as per the situation at the time,” Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde said in a press briefing in Mumbai.

Sitting along with his deputy Mr Fadnavis, Mr Shinde added, “What if the floor test had happened and their (MVA) govt had failed it?”

The Congress on Thursday described the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Maharashtra political row as a victory for the state and the Constitution.

Courtesy India Today