The Supreme Court on Monday will hear petitions by rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde and the MLAs challenging the disqualification notices issued by Maharashtra Deputy Speaker to them and also the appointment of Ajay Choudhari as Shiv Sena Legislature Party leader.
A vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and J.B. Pardiwala will hear the petitions filed by Shina and rebel MLAs led by Bharat Gogawali against the Deputy Speaker. Shinde claims to enjoy support of two-third members of the party.
Maharashtra has been facing a political crisis after Shinde and rebel MLAs left the state, protesting against the alliance with the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party. The rebel MLAs have been camping in a hotel in Assam's Guwahati for the past few days. The Deputy Speaker had issued notices to the 16 rebel MLAs on the disqualification plea by Thackeray's team. Shinde claims the actions of the Deputy Speaker show he is hand in glove with the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
Shinde's plea said the disqualification notices issued by the Deputy Speaker is completely violative of Article 14 and 19(1)(g) of the Constitution, and also the illegal and unconstitutional action of the Deputy Speaker in recognising Choudhuri as the leader of the Shiv Sena Legislature Party (SSLP) despite the said request being admittedly made by a minority faction.
The plea said the petitioner is aggrieved by the notice/summon dated June 25 which is grossly illegal, unconstitutional and in utter disregard of the judgment of this Court in the matter of Nabam Rebia & Bamang Felix Vs Dy. Speaker, Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly in (2016).
"That the seat of Speaker is vacant since Nana Patole resigned from office 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," it added.
The rebel leaders urged the apex court to prohibit the Deputy Speaker from taking any action under the anti-defection law (10th Schedule of the Constitution) and issue direction against taking any action until the resolution for removal of Deputy Speaker is decided.
"Issue a writ of prohibition/mandamus or any other appropriate writ, direction or order, directing Respondent No. 1 (Deputy Speaker) to not take any action in the disqualification petition under Rule 6 of MLA Defection Rules seeking disqualification of the Petitioners under Para-2(1)(a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India pending before Hon'ble Speaker of Maharashtra State Legislative Assembly and not take any action on the same until the resolution for removal of Deputy Speaker is decided," said the plea.
Shinde claimed the MLAs' request to work as per party founder Balasaheb Thackeray was not heeded by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. "The requests made by the petitioner and other MLAs fell on deaf ears and were rejected by the Chief Minister. The petitioner as well as the other MLAs making such requests in turn started receiving threats from certain unscrupulous elements," he alleged in the plea.
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