The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict on Thursday on various petitions filed by the Uddhav Thackeray faction and the Chief Minister Eknath Shinde faction.
Last year, Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde rebelled against Uddhav Thackeray and formed the government with the support of the BJP.
The governor had administered the oath by recognizing his government. When the matter reached the Supreme Court, it was transferred to the constitutional bench.
The bench comprises Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice MR Shah, Justice Krishna Murari, Justice Hima Kohli and Justice PS Narasimha.
On February 17, the bench heard the petitions of Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde faction of Shiv Sena.
From February 21, the court had heard this case for 9 consecutive days.
On March 16, after the arguments of all the parties were completed, the court had reserved the decision.
On the last day of hearing i.e. March 16, the Supreme Court had expressed surprise that how the court can restore the Uddhav government as Uddhav had resigned before the floor test. In his petition, Uddhav demanded that the Governor’s order of June 2022 be quashed, in which Uddhav was asked to prove his majority in the House.
On this, the Uddhav faction said that the status quo (status quo) should be restored, that is, the Uddhav government should be restored as the court had ordered in 2016 to restore the Nabam Tuki government in Arunachal Pradesh.
On August 23, 2022, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the then CJI NV Ramana, formulated several questions of law on the petitions of both the factions and referred the case to a five-judge bench. was referred to the Bench.
Several constitutional questions have been raised in the petitions of defection, merger and disqualification.
Senior advocates Neeraj Kishan Kaul, Harish Salve, Mahesh Jethmalani and Abhikalp Pratap Singh presented arguments on behalf of the group led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta represented the Governor’s office in the matter. On the other hand, senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Devdutt Kamat and advocate Amit Anand Tiwari presented arguments on behalf of the Uddhav group.
Uddhav faction demanded cancellation of Governor’s order to conduct floor test in June 2022. The Governor’s decision is dangerous for democracy and it is fatal for the democratic system of the country.
Uddhav’s lawyer Kapil Sibal had said that the political party has primacy in the relationship between the legislature and the political party. Sibal argued that the Constitution does not recognize any group, whether majority or minority.
Sibal further argued that the MLAs’ disagreement with the government was outside the House and not inside the House.
CJI Chandrachud wanted to know from the counsel for the Uddhav Thackeray camp whether the Governor cannot listen to the members who want to withdraw support from the government.
The CJI said that there was a section of legislators who did not want to support the then Uddhav government. He may face disqualification. This can affect the strength of the house.
Kapil Sibal replied that it used to happen when there was no Tenth Schedule of the Constitution. He said that the governor cannot ask for a trust vote on the basis of the demand of any group, because the demand for the trust vote is based on the coalition. Suddenly some MLAs in Maharashtra have decided to withdraw their support.
The Uddhav faction had said that if the Shinde government was allowed to run in Maharashtra, it would have far-reaching consequences for the country. Because then any government can be toppled.
The Uddhav faction had also said that the Shinde faction has no argument in the matter of the Tenth Schedule.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued on behalf of the Governor of Maharashtra. He told the court that the MLAs of the Shinde faction had written to the governor that they did not want to continue with the Uddhav government.
On this, the Governor had asked Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority in the House.
The Shinde group had argued before the Supreme Court that the test of strength is not held in the Raj Bhavan but on the floor of the House.
The governor did nothing wrong by ordering a floor test. Senior advocate NK Kaul, appearing for the Shinde faction, said that political parties and legislature parties are linked.
The Uddhav Thackeray faction’s contention that the other factions represent a legislative party and not a political party is a fallacy. He also said that dissent is the hallmark of democracy.