National Affairs

‘Governor Should Not Enter Political Arena’: SC Questions Guv’s Role While Hearing Shiv Sena Rift Case

Uddhav Thackeray camp got relief from Supreme Court on Wednesday in hearing on Uddhav vs Shinde fight in Shiv Sena. 

The Supreme Court on Wednesday fired a barrage of sharp questions at Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Governor of Maharashtra. 

Questioning the governor’s call for a trust vote, the court said that he should not enter into any territory that leads to the fall of the government. 

The court asked that the question is whether the governor can topple the government just because an MLA has said that there is a threat to his life and property? It said that dissent in the party is not a sufficient reason for calling a floor test.

The Supreme Court is hearing petitions questioning the foundation of the Shinde government, arguing that Shinde and 15 other rebels were disqualified at the time of the trust vote.

 A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, hearing the matter, said that a governor should exercise the power with caution and be aware that calling for a trust vote could lead to the fall of the government.

In Maharashtra, the three-year-old Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance lost power following a coup in the Shiv Sena by Eknath Shinde. 

The rebel camp formed a new government with the BJP in June last year. Since then the factions led by Thackeray and Eknath Shinde have been fighting for recognition as the ‘real Shiv Sena’.

Last month, the Election Commission had handed over the name and symbol of the Shiv Sena to the Eknath Shinde faction. 

Here, the decision of the Election Commission to hand over the election symbol has been challenged and in this case, the Commission has filed a reply today and declared its decision correct. 

During the hearing, Chief Justice Chandrachud remarked, “They lived together for three years. He sided with Congress and NCP for three years. What happened overnight after three years of a happy bond?’

The CJI said, “The Governor has to ask himself this question- ‘What were you guys doing for three years? What if a month after the elections were here and they suddenly sidelined the BJP and joined the Congress?’ Had they gone, it would have been a different thing. You live together for three years. And suddenly one day the group of 34 says there is discontent….’

The Constitution Bench repeatedly asked what was the basis of the floor test. Justice Chandrachud questioned, ‘The Governor’s vote of confidence is where the majority in the house is shaken. Where was there anything to indicate this?’

When Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued that the rebels had lost faith in Uddhav Thackeray, CJI Chandrachud said, “discontent in the party does not in itself justify calling for a vote of confidence in the governor.” 

The CJI said that the Governor cannot be oblivious to the fact that in a three-party alliance, disagreements happen only in one.

Earlier, the Supreme Court on Tuesday told Maharashtra’s ruling Eknath Shinde faction that the difference between a divided and a rival faction is very thin and it is very easy for the speaker to say whether it is a matter of division or not, but the question is whether What should be the outline for the Presiding Officer to consider prima facie. 

Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing the Shinde group, argued that the then Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had done nothing wrong by calling the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government to prove its majority on the floor of the House last year.

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