The Supreme Court on Monday directed Maharashtra Assembly Speaker to set a timeline for deciding pleas for disqualification of Shiv Sena MLAs of CM Eknath Shinde faction.
The top court said it expects deference, and dignity to directions issued by it while pronouncing the verdict on the Maharashtra political row.
"The Speaker has to honour the dignity of the Supreme Court," said CJI DY Chandrachud over delay in deciding pleas for disqualification of Shiv Sena MLAs.
Maharashtra Assembly speaker initiated hearing
Four days ago on September 14, Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar began hearing the disqualification petitions filed against each other by two rival Shiv Sena factions led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his predecessor Uddhav Thackeray.
A total of 34 petitions are being heard. Both factions are being represented by their respective lawyers. Talking to reporters, Anil Sakhre, the lawyer of the Shinde-led Shiv Sena, said his team did not receive relevant documents from the opposite side.
Ravindra Waikar, an MLA from the Uddhav Thackeray faction, told media persons that Shinde group's claim (of not getting documents) was part of its delaying tactic.
"It is for the speaker to provide all relevant documents to both sides. The Thackeray faction wanted all the petitions to be clubbed and heard," he added.
Waikar said the Supreme Court has held the whip issued by Sunil Prabhu, belonging to the Thackeray faction, as valid.
The hearing will resume next week. In July, speaker Narwekar had issued notices to 40 MLAs of the Shinde-led Sena and 14 of the Thackeray faction, seeking their replies on disqualification petitions against them.
The notices were issued against a total of 54 MLAs, including CM Shinde and Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray. But notice was not issued against Sena (UBT) MLA Rutuja Latke who was elected after the Shiv Sena split last year.
Prabhu had, in his capacity as chief whip of the undivided Shiv Sena, had filed the disqualification petitions against Shinde and other 15 MLAs last year after they rebelled and joined hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form a new government in June 2022.
On May 11, the Supreme Court ruled that Eknath Shinde will continue to be the chief minister of Maharashtra. It also said that it cannot reinstate the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition government headed by Uddhav Thackeray as the latter chose to resign without facing a floor test in the wake of Shinde’s rebellion.