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Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine moves Supreme Court against ‘illegal’ government in Maharashtra

Advocate Sunil Fernandes at the Supreme Court on November 23, 2019 in connection with the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine’s plea against the Maharashtra Governor’s move to install Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister.

Advocate Sunil Fernandes at the Supreme Court on November 23, 2019 in connection with the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine’s plea against the Maharashtra Governor’s move to install Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister.   | Photo Credit: PTI

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The three parties want the Governor’s action quashed; a special hearing is scheduled for 11.30 a.m. on November 24.

A political combine of the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena on Saturday moved the Supreme Court urgently in a joint petition against the “illegal usurpation of power” by the BJP in Maharashtra, leading to a “hurried and makeshift” swearing-in ceremony which installed Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister.

Lawyers for the petitioner political parties said the Supreme Court Registry has informed them of a special hearing scheduled for 11.30 a.m. on November 24 (Sunday). The plea will be heard by a bench of justices NV Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna. The lawyers had sought a hearing on Saturday night.

The petition was filed late in the day and the court saw a throng of leaders from the political combine. The Registry, after scrutinising the documents, formally accepted it at 8.23 p.m.

The petition has made the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, State of Maharashtra, and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who is also NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s nephew, respondents in the case.

The combine sought the quashing of the Governor’s decision on November 23 inviting Mr. Fadnavis to form the government.

 

“There is nothing in public domain in what manner Shri Devendra Fadnavis and/or the BJP had staked claim power between the intervening night of 22.11.2019 and 23.11.2019. Further there is no material in the public domain to show that Shri Devendra Fadnavis had carried letters of support of 144 MLAs (which in any event was not legally possible to do). The Petitioners categorically assert that all the MLA’s of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress are completely and solidly with the alliance except for Shri Ajit Pawar,” the petition contended.

The petition said the Governor’s action show his partisanship. He has made a “mockery of his high constitutional office”.

“What was the hurry and the hot haste to revoke Presidents Rule at 5:47 a.m. and administer oath at around 8 a.m., barely two and a half hours later,” the petition asked.

Shiv Sena leader Gajanan Kirtikar (second left) arrives at the Supreme Court on November 23, 2019 on a plea against the Maharashtra Governor’s move to install Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister.

Shiv Sena leader Gajanan Kirtikar (second left) arrives at the Supreme Court on November 23, 2019 on a plea against the Maharashtra Governor’s move to install Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister.   | Photo Credit: PTI

 

Stating that it was even doubtful whether the Governor had applied his mind to the claim, if any, made by Mr. Fadnavis, the petition said he should have proceeded carefully especially in the light of the Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena combine commanding 154 MLAs had made their intention to form the government clear only the previous night.

“The Governor’s actions between the intervening night of 22.11.2019 and 23.11.2019 culminating to the swearing in on the 23.11.2019 are a text book example of the Governor acting at the behest of a political party in power at the Centre,” the petition said.

“Facing the prospect of a non BJP Government staking claim to power, the BJP in the intervening night of 22.11.2019 and 23.11.2019 resorted to political machinations in an attempt to install a completely unconstitutional BJP Government in the State,” the petition said.

It cited reports available in the public that the Governor’s original travel plan to the Governors’ conclave on the night of November 22 was cancelled.

“In the early hours of 23.11.2019 at around 5:47 am, the Presidential Proclamation issued on 12.11.2019 imposing President’s Rule was revoked by the Hon’ble President vide Ministry of Home Affairs,” the petition narrated the events leading to the swearing-in on Saturday early morning.

The petitioners contended that they formed the majority in the State and as the ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ had intended to form the majority government with Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray as the Chief Minister in the 14the Legislative Assembly.

“After comprehensive talks, the Shiv Sena, INC and NCP finalised a Common Minimum Programme for a post-poll alliance, namely the Maha Vikas Aghadi. On the evening of 22.11.2019 at about 7 p.m., this alliance was announced at a press conference and it was further announced that it was unanimously agreed that Shri Uddhav Thackeray was to be named as Chief Minister candidate of the Maha Vikas Aghadi and the alliance was staking claim to form Government on this basis,” the petition said.

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The article was updated with the names of the three judges

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 3:26:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/shiv-sena-ncp-congress-combine-moves-supreme-court-against-illegal-government-in-maharashtra/article30063582.ece

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