SC to hear Shiv Sena's plea challenging floor test today

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi mentioned Prabhu's petition seeking an urgent hearing of the case today evening before a vacation bench of Justice Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala, saying the "floor test is illegal".
Supreme Court
Supreme Court

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear at 5 pm a plea filed by Shiv Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu challenging Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's direction to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority support on the floor of the House on June 30.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi mentioned Prabhu's petition seeking an urgent hearing of the case today evening before a vacation bench of Justice Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala, saying the "floor test is illegal".

Singhvi said that the floor test ordered tomorrow morning is illegal as it cannot include persons facing disqualification.

"Floor test is illegal as it cannot include persons facing disqualification. I am only requesting for listing today evening.

Otherwise, the matter will become infructuous. Votes which cannot be counted will be counted. The entire exercise will be futile," the senior counsel added.

Senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul appearing for the Eknath Shinde group opposed Prabhu's plea against the floor test saying there is no urgency and it can be heard tomorrow.

Kaul said calling for the floor test is the prerogative of the Governor and in any case, the pendency of a disqualification application has nothing to do with the floor test.

Agreeing to hear the plea, Justice Surya Kant asked Singhvi to make sure the paper book of the case is ready by 3 pm.

"Ultimately we may agree or we may not agree, but having regard to the urgency of the matter we think the matter is to be heard today. We will keep the case at 5 pm," said the bench.

The Maharashtra Governor has asked the Thackeray government in the state to prove its majority on the floor of the House tomorrow.

The Governor has written to the state Assembly secretary to convene a special session of the State Assembly tomorrow with the only agenda of a trust vote against Chief Minister Thackeray.

According to the notification, the session will commence at 11 am and will also be telecast live.

On June 27, the top court granted interim relief to rebel Shiv Seva leader Eknath Shinde and other MLAs to file their reply to disqualification notices issued to them by Deputy Speaker by July 12, 5.30 pm.

Earlier, Deputy Speaker had granted them time to file a reply by June 27, 5.30 pm.

The order of the apex court had come while hearing the petitions filed by the Shinde group challenging the disqualification notices issued by the Deputy Speaker to 16 rebel MLAs as well as the appointment of Ajay Choudhary as Shiv Sena Legislature Party leader.

The bench had also issued notices to the Deputy Speaker, Secretary of Maharashtra State Legislative Assembly, Centre, Ajay Chaudhary, and Sunil Prabhu and asked them to file a reply within five days. The top court had posted the matter for hearing on July 11.

The plea had said that the disqualification notices are classic examples of the Deputy Speaker acting hand-in-glove with the MVA government in an attempt to hastily disqualify Shinde along with his supporters, bypassing all cannons of law. Maharashtra has had no Speaker since Nana Patole resigned in February 2021 to take over as Congress chief.

Deputy Speaker Zirwal belongs to NCP. The 15 petitioners were - Bharat Gogawale, Prakash R Surve, Tanhaji Jaywant Savant, Mahesh S Shinde, Abdul Sattar, Sandeepan A Bhumre, Sanjay P Sirhsat, Yamini Y Jadhav, Anil K Babar, Latabai C Sonawane, Ramesh N Bornare, Sanjay B Raimulkar, Chimanrao R Patil, Balaji D Kalyankar and Balaji P Kinilkar.

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