Eknath Shinde & rebel MLAs move SC; pleas to be heard today
Shinde camp leader of legislature party Bharat Gogawale and the other 14 rebel MLAs also filed a petition.
Both pleas are listed for hearing before a vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and J B Pardiwala on Monday. The same day, Zirwal is expected to take a call on the disqualification petition filed by the Sena.
Shinde, who has engaged a team of lawyers led by Harish Salve, has urged the SC to direct Zirwal not to disqualify the 16 rebel MLAs till a decision on the no-confidence motion against him is taken.
In his plea, Shinde said the deputy speaker has lost his position as the MVA has been reduced to a minority and so, he has no authority to invoke provisions of the Members of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on ground of Defection) Rules, 1986, and send notices to him and 15 other MLAs. The disqualification notices are classic examples of the deputy speaker acting hand in glove with the MVA government in an attempt to hastily disqualify the petitioner along with his supporters, bypassing all cannons of law, he alleged.
Shinde contended the Speaker’s post has been vacant since Nana Patole resigned in February 2021. “Thus, there is no authority who can adjudicate upon the disqualification petition under which the impugned notice has been issued to the petitioner,” he said.
Advocate Abhimanyu Singhvi will represent the Shiv Sena in the SC.
According to reports, if the SC accepts Shinde’s plea, then the rebel camp will approach governor B S Koshyari for a floor test saying the MVA government-led by Uddhav Thackeray has lost the majority. If Thackeray loses majority, Koshyari has two options: Invite the leader of the largest party to form the government. And if there is no response, he will recommend President’s rule in Maharashtra.
Justifying the proposal to disqualify the errant MLAs, Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant said: “They must be disqualified as they defied the whip.” A senior NCP leader said since Shinde has moved the SC it’s the beginning of a long-drawn battle. “We feel that even if Devendra Fadnavis, being the leader of the largest party, is called for formation of government, he may not do so immediately; he may stake claim after a brief gap,” he said.