Larger bench to examine constitutional aspects of Sena conflict: SC
The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday said the petitions filed by the Shiv Sena and its breakaway faction raise several constitutional questions that require consideration by a larger bench. A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana directed the two parties to compile the matters that require examination by a larger bench by July 27. It listed the matter for hearing on August 1.
Why does this story matter?
With Shinde already forming the government in Maharashtra, the conflict has now shifted to seizing control of the Shiv Sena, the organization that Thackeray's father Bal Thackeray had founded. Shinde was sworn in as Maharashtra's CM on June 30 with the support of 40 Sena MLAs and the BJP. Notably, with 106 MLAs, the BJP is currently the single-largest party in the 287-member Assembly.
What exactly did the Supreme Court observe?
"After hearing the counsels it has been agreed that some issues may, if necessary, be referred to a larger bench also," said the SC bench that also comprises justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli. "Keeping in mind the same, to enable the parties to frame the issues, let them file the same preferably by next Wednesday," it said.
How did Thackeray faction's counsel argue?
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing for the Uddhav Thackeray side, argued that Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari should not have sworn in the new government in Maharashtra while the Supreme Court was hearing the case. "Speaker recognizing a whip other than the official whip nominated by the party is malafide," Sibal told the bench three-member bench.
Relief to MLAs of team Thackeray
On July 11, the SC granted interim relief to the MLAs of the Thackeray faction by asking Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar not to proceed with the plea seeking their disqualification as sought by the Shinde group. The warning notice was issued against them for disobeying the party whip during the trust vote and speaker election.
Team Thackeray's plea had challenged floor test, speaker's election
As per reports, the Thackeray-led Sena group had also contested the election of the Assembly speaker as well as the floor test that established the rebel camp's majority in the SC. They claimed the floor test was unlawful since 16 dissident MLAs who voted were facing disqualification. The apex court has numerous other petitions on Maharashtra's political crisis on its docket.
Rebel camp filed plea against disqualification notices
The Shinde camp had also moved the top court with its plea against the disqualification notices that he and 15 other Sena MLAs who supported him had been served. Shinde's revolt unfolded about a month ago when he went to Gujarat's Surat with some of the supporting MLAs. Later, the strength of the rebel faction kept growing in the following days.