SC to hear plea on suspension of CM Eknath Shinde, rebel MLAs on July 11

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said it will hear on July 11 a plea by Shiv Sena Chief Whip Sunil Prabhu seeking suspension of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and 15 rebel MLAs against whom disqualification petitions are pending.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, Justice Surya Kant and Justice J. B. Pardiwala’s vacation bench that pending disqualification proceedings against the 16 MLAs, including the Chief Minister, there is a need for urgent hearing on the interim petition.

Sibal said, “Sorry for disturbing…we have filed an application. After the court passed an order on June 29, Eknath Shinde took oath as the chief minister. The problem before us and before the Legislative Assembly is that if there is no merger under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution, then how will the counting of votes be done?

He said, “Both factions (of Shiv Sena) are going to issue whip. How will we control the proceedings of the House? He (Shinde) is not a party and this issue can be decided only by the Election Commission.”

The bench said it was fully conscious of the issue and would look into it on July 11 when the main petition of the 16 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs against the disqualification notice issued by the Deputy Speaker would be heard.

will definitely look into the issue
The court said, “We will definitely look into the issue. It is not that we are not aware of it. Let us see what procedures are being followed. If the process is faulty, please file an affidavit, we will consider that also.”

On June 27, a vacation bench had granted interim relief to the Shinde faction by extending the time till July 12 to respond to the disqualification notices sent to 16 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs.

Significantly, on June 29, the Maharashtra Governor had ordered a floor test, due to which the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government had approached the apex court requesting to postpone the floor test.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray stepped down after the bench refused to stay the governor’s direction for floor test in the assembly to prove majority to the 31-month-old MVA government.

Court reached after taking oath of Shinde
After Shinde was sworn in as chief minister on June 30, Prabhu moved the apex court seeking suspension of 15 rebels on various grounds, alleging that they were “acting as pawns of the BJP”. Which is committing the constitutional sin of defection.

The plea has urged the top court to inquire into the matter in view of the “indisputable and clear” facts that Shinde was rewarded for his defection by offering him the post of chief minister.

“Though the proceedings of the Tenth Schedule are pending, the membership of the House of the convicted MLAs is liable to be suspended at least as an interim measure,” it said.

According to the petition, despite the rebellion, the original Shiv Sena is a faction led by Uddhav Thackeray. Thackeray was elected as the party’s president on January 23, 2018, when organizational elections were held and the Election Commission was informed.

Tags: Devendra Fadnavis, Eknath Shinde, Maharashtra Politics

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