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SC issues notice on Uddhav Thackeray group's plea

Uddhav Thackeray announced his resignation as the Chief Minister and Eknath Shinde was later sworn in as the Chief Minister.

SC issues notice on Uddhav Thackeray groups plea

Supreme Court of India (PTI)

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and 38 MLAs of his group on a petition by the Uddhav Thackeray faction of Shiv Sena challenging the order of the Maharashtra Speaker on the dismissal of disqualification pleas against Shinde faction MLAs.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra issued notice and sought a response within two weeks.

At the outset of the hearing, the CJI asked the senior advocate, Kapil Sibal, representing the Thackeray faction, to approach the High Court.

"Should this Court hear or the High Court hear under Article 226?" CJI asked, to which Sibal replied that adjudication would get delayed if the matter was sent to the High Court.The Speaker's order violates the Supreme Court's judgment and hence, this court ought to hear the matter, Sibal added.

The Eknath Shinde group has approached the Bombay High Court, challenging the refusal of the Speaker to disqualify the Uddhav Thackeray group and the High Court issued notice on the Shinde group's petition.

In the apex court, along with the Maharashtra Speaker's decision not to disqualify Shinde and his group, the Thackeray faction also challenged the order of the Speaker to recognise the Shinde faction as the 'real Shiv Sena' after its split in June 2022.

The Speaker's decision came on January 10, nearly two years after Thackeray's camp moved disqualification petitions against Shinde and his supporting legislators under the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection law) of the Constitution. Approaching the apex court against Maharashtra Speaker Rahul Narwekar's decision to dismiss the disqualification petitions against Shinde and 38 "rebel" Shiv Sena legislators, the Thackeray faction said the decision was a "colourable" exercise of power based on "extraneous and irrelevant" considerations.

Earlier, the top court had asked the Speaker to expeditiously decide the disqualification petitions pending before him.

The disqualification petitions against the rebel MLAs were filed by Sunil Prabhu, the Shiv Sena party Whip appointed by Uddhav Thackeray, on June 23, 2022, after the MLAs revolted against Thackeray.

In May last year, a five-judge Constitution bench held that it could not disqualify the Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government and reinstate Uddhav Thackeray as Chief Minister because the latter had chosen to resign instead of facing a test of strength in the Assembly.

In August 2022, the top court's three-judge bench referred to a five-judge Constitution bench for 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 apex court's order, Uddhav Thackeray announced his resignation as the Chief Minister and Eknath Shinde was later sworn in as the Chief Minister.

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