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Sena vs Sena: SC pulls up Maharashtra Assembly Speaker over disqualification pleas against Shinde, MLAs

The Supreme Court rapped the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker over the pending disqualification proceedings against Shiv Sena MLAs including Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and said that he cannot defeat the orders of the top court.

Ashesh Mallick Edited By: Ashesh Mallick @asheshmallick07 New Delhi Published on: October 13, 2023 17:54 IST
Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker, Rahul Narwekar, Maharashtra
Image Source : PTI Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar

The Supreme Court on Friday (October 13) came down hard on Maharashtra Assembly Speaker over the delay in deciding the disqualification petitions against Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and the Shiv Sena MLAs backing him, and said that he cannot defeat its orders.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing Speaker Rahul Narwekar, to clarify on the timeline for deciding the petitions on Tuesday stating that it will pass a “peremptory order” if it is not satisfied.

“Somebody has to advise the (assembly) speaker. He cannot defeat the orders of the Supreme Court. What kind of time schedule he is prescribing?... This (disqualification proceedings) is a summary procedure. Last time, we thought, better sense will prevail and had asked him to lay down a time schedule...,” the bench said.

The court said that the idea of laying down the time schedule was not to “indefinitely delay” the hearing on the disqualification proceedings.

The CJI said that a decision on the disqualification pleas has to be taken before the next assembly elections or the whole process will become infructuous.

“The decision has to be taken well before the next elections and this cannot go on merrily to render the whole process infructuous,” the bench said.

Maharashtra Assembly polls are likely be held around September-October next year.

SC raises concerns over non-adherence to its earlier order

The Supreme Court raised concern over non-adherence to its earlier order and said that there has been no development in the matter since June.

The court said that the speaker must give the impression that he was taking the matter seriously.

“Since June, there has been no action in the matter. What has happened in this case?. Nothing! This cannot become a charade. There has to be a hearing (before the speaker)," the bench said.

Referring to the court's earlier orders of issuing notices and seeking a timeline for adjudication of the petitions, the CJI said the apex court was concerned about its instructions not being followed by the speaker.

"I am concerned about maintaining the dignity of our court,” the CJI said.

The top court was hearing two petitions filed by the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena and the Sharad Pawar bloc of the NCP, seeking a direction to the speaker to expeditiously decide disqualification proceedings against some MLAs.

What happened in the case earlier?

Earlier on September 18, the bench had directed the speaker to spell out the time table for adjudication of the disqualification petitions against Shinde and Shiv Sena MLAs owing allegiance to him who had tied up with the BJP to form a new government in June 2022.

The court had asked the solicitor general to apprise the bench of the time schedule to be fixed by the speaker for deciding the pleas for disqualification of 56 MLAs including lawmakers belonging to the Shinde faction.

The Thackeray faction had moved the apex court in July seeking direction to the state assembly speaker to expeditiously adjudicate the disqualification petitions in a time-bound manner.

(With PTI inputs)

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