The Supreme Court on Monday asked Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar to defer for the time being the disqualification proceedings initiated against Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and 15 other “dissident” Shiv Sena MLAs for defection.
The Speaker had also started disqualification process against 14 Shiv Sena MLAs for voting against the whip issued by the Shinde-led faction. Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana asked lawyers representing the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Secretariat to inform the Speaker’s office not to list the disqualification proceedings on July 12. The CJI said the court would take some time to list the pending petitions regarding the disqualification process as it had to constitute a Bench for it. The case was originally slated to be listed for hearing on July 11 in the top court.
Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Governor, assured the CJI that he would personally inform the Speaker’s office about the court’s request.
In an oral mentioning, senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Devadatt Kamat, appearing for the Uddhav Thackeray camp, voiced their apprehension that the Speaker may take up the disqualification proceedings on July 12 and dismiss them outright before the court had a chance to hear the petitions and decide. “The case was supposed to be listed today in court. The disqualification proceedings are however listed before the Speaker tomorrow. They may just dismiss the disqualification petitions tomorrow itself while petitions are still pending in this court,” Mr. Sibal submitted.