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'MLAs were in 'happy marriage' in MVA but one fine day...': SC pulls up Guv's role in Sena vs Sena fight

Making an observation, a 5-judge bench of the Supreme Court said, "It will be a sad spectacle for democracy," while taking forward the hearing on the events that unfolded during the June 2022 Maharashtra political crisis triggered by a revolt in the then undivided Shiv Sena by MLAs loyal to Shinde.

Shashwat Bhandari Edited By: Shashwat Bhandari @ShashBhandari New Delhi Updated on: March 16, 2023 6:26 IST
Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde and former CM Uddhav Thackeray
Image Source : FILE PHOTO Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde and former CM Uddhav Thackeray

The Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that a floor test of a government cannot be called merely on the ground of differences between MLAs of a ruling party as it can topple an elected government. The top court added that the governor of a state cannot lend his office to effectuate a particular result. Making an observation, a 5-judge bench of the Supreme Court said, "It will be a sad spectacle for democracy," while taking forward the hearing on the events that unfolded during the June 2022 Maharashtra political crisis when over 35 MLAs of the Shiv Sena broke away from Uddhav Thackeray and supported Eknath Shinde camp, leading to the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

  1. Difference of opinion among MLAs within a party can be on any ground like payment of development fund or deviation from party ethos but can that be a sufficient ground for the governor to call for the floor test? Governor cannot lend his office to effectuate a particular result. Calling for a trust vote will lead to toppling of elected government," the 5-judge SC bench led by CJI said.
  2. The only thing is that a resolution of 34 MLAs which said that there was widespread discontent among the party cadres and legislators.... Is this sufficient ground to call for trust vote? Although, in the hindsight we can say that Uddhav Thackeray had lost the mathematical equation, the bench said. 
  3. But the fact is governor cannot enter this domain which would precipitate the matter. People will start ditching the ruling party and governor will end up toppling the ruling party. This will be a sad spectacle for democracy, the court observed.
  4. Three years you cohabited in an alliance, and one fine day, you decided for divorce. The rebel MLAs became ministers in another dispensation. Governor has to ask these questions to himself. What were you fellows doing for such a long time and now suddenly you want a divorce, the court said. The bench also said the governor should have questioned the (Shiv Sena) MLAs that they were in a "happy marriage" with the Congress and the NCP for three years and then suddenly what happened in a day that they wanted to go out of the alliance.
  5. Reacting to current developments, Uddhav Thackeray said, "Maharashtra was not shaped by Modi ji but by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The 3 pillars of Democracy have collapsed. Media has Lotus in their hand instead of pen. Only hope left is Judiciary and Supreme Court. Judiciary won’t let the downfall of justice happen."
  6. "When BJP started Rath yatra, we supported them. They had only 2 MPs. Advani was their face. But when government had to be formed & they wanted support from Jayalalithaa & others, other parties opposed. Advani's face for sake of secularism and Atal ji became PM. So who left Hinduism, Shivsena or BJP," Uddhav Thackeray asked.
  7. On March 2, the Shinde faction had told the top court that the pleas related to the June 2022 Maharashtra political crisis fell within the realm of politics and judiciary cannot be asked to adjudicate the issue.
  8. A political crisis had erupted in Maharashtra after an open revolt in the Shiv Sena by the Shinde faction.
  9. Meanwhile, in another setback to Uddhav Thackeray, former Maharashtra health minister Deepak Sawant joined the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena.
  10. Sawant joined the Sena in the presence of chief minister Shinde. Sawant was an MLC of then united Shiv Sena and was cabinet minister for public health from 2014 to 2018 in the Devendra Fadanvis-led government. He was dropped from the cabinet and denied ticket for legislative council election by Uddhav Thackeray in 2018.

(With inputs from PTI)

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