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Sena vs Sena: Supreme Court asks Maha speaker to take up disqualification petitions within a week

The Supreme Court asked the Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly to set a timeline for the hearing of the disqualification petitions against 56 MLAs including Chief Minister Eknath Shinde within a week. The CJI also noted that the Speaker cannot delay such proceedings indefinitely.

Sena vs Sena Supreme Court asks Maha speaker to take up disqualification petitions within a week gcw
First Published Sep 18, 2023, 6:13 PM IST

The Supreme Court pulled up Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar on Monday for failing to address disqualification petitions promptly and ordered him to do so within a week in the ongoing Shiv Sena vs. Shiv Sena legal battle. Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud gave stern directions to the Speaker, Rahul Narwekar, and said the top court had been asking him to decide on the matter for four months.

The Apex court expressed disappointment over the delay in the disqualification process that resulted from the split within the Shiv Sena party between the Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde factions, and it also asked the speaker to inform it within two weeks of the timeline of how these disqualification proceedings would be conducted.

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The Maharashtra assembly speaker was previously ordered to consider the disqualification case in a fair amount of time, but he failed to comply, prompting the court's displeasure.

“The contentions in this writ are that despite the passing of months, the Speaker has not decided the disqualification petitions…Ld. SG appearing for Speaker submitted a complication…53+3 MLAs were disqualified from the two factions and 34 petitions were filed," the CJI said during the hearing. 

The Maharashtra Assembly Speaker's actions show a disregard for the court's orders, the CJI added, and under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, the speaker cannot prolong such proceedings indefinitely.

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After Eknath Shinde and a number of other MLAs conducted a coup in June 2022 against the Maha Vikas Aghadi administration headed by Uddhav Thackeray, the Shiv Sena split in two. As Maharashtra's new chief minister, Shinde replaced Thackeray, and the BJP's Devendra Fadnavis is his deputy.

The Supreme Court declined to exercise the special powers under Articles 226 and 32 as requested by the Uddhav Thackeray camp and stated that "there are no extraordinary circumstances in the instant case that warrant the exercise of jurisdiction by the court to adjudicate the disqualification petition" when turning over the case of disqualification to the Speaker in May.

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