Rajya Sabha MP and senior lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani on Friday said that the Supreme Court’s verdict in the case pertaining to the disqualification of 16 Shiv Sena MLAs had provided a “constitutional cloak” to the BJP-Eknath Shinde led Shiv Sena government in the state. The Congress and its Maharashtra allies’ are “clutching at straws” when they claim a moral victory, he asserted.
Speaking to the media in New Delhi, Mr Jethmalani said the Supreme Court, in its judgment on Thursday, rejected five of the seven prayers made by the petitioners and granted only two.
On the Supreme Court’s censure of former governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s decision to call a floor test for former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority after many Shiv Sena MLAs had defected to the Eknath Shinde faction, Mr Jethmalani said it was a “sham, hollow and irrelevant victory” for the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), the coalition of the Congress, NCP and the Uddhav faction of Shiv Sena, as it had no “practical” effect as the judges in their unanimous verdict also upheld the swearing-in of Mr Shinde. Mr Jethmalani, however, added that he does not agree with this aspect of the judgment but qualified it by saying that the Apex court is right as its verdict is final.
He added that the Supreme Court had only asked the Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar to revisit the matter of recognising Bharat Gogawale as the chief whip of the Shiv Sena while setting aside the earlier decision as against the law. “Gogawale can be appointed to the position again,” he said. The Speaker will decide on the matter, including the issue of disqualifying MLAs who had rebelled and backed Shinde, on merit, the Rajya Sabha MP added.
He said that the morality behind the formation of MVA was flawed, with Mr Thackeray allying with NCP and Congress to become chief minister “betraying the will of the people which is the most important aspect in a democracy,” Mr Jethmalani said..