The Supreme Court is due to hear the plea of Maharashtra Shiv Sena MLA Eknath Shinde on disqualification notice against him and 15 rebel MLAs. The notice has been served by Maharashtra Assembly Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal. The matter will come up for hearing around 12:30 pm on Monday (June 27). A vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala will hear the cases.
Two petitions have been filed, one by Shinde and the other by dissident MLAs. The petitions are in response to the disqualification notice and the nomination of Ajay Chaudhary as legislative party leader. The rebel camp has called the effort to disqualify ‘illegal and unconstitutional’. The petition requests that the disqualification notification has stayed. The rebel camp has asked the deputy speaker to instruct him not to act on the notification. The Shinde camp contended that the action was unconstitutional since disqualification may occur only for issues in the assembly and not for missing a party meeting.
The Eknath Shinde camp has also contested Thackeray’s choice of Ajay Choudhary as Shiv Sena Legislature Party leader. They have also sought the court to order the Maharashtra government to provide protection for their families. Shinde and a sizable portion of Shiv Sena’s assembly strength are camped out at a hotel in Guwahati, hundreds of kilometres from Shiv Sena’s power base.
Shinde stated in his petition that the Deputy Speaker’s position has been lost because the MVA government has been reduced to a minority, and in such a situation, he has no authority to invoke the provisions of the Members of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on Ground of Defection) Rules, 1986, and send notices to him and 15 other MLAs who are part of the breakaway group of 38 Sena legislators.
Shinde stated in his petition: ‘The present Maharashtra administration, led by the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition, has lost the majority in the House when 38 members of the Shiv Sena Legislature Party withdrew their support, leaving it below the majority in the House. However, the MVA administration continues to abuse the role of deputy speaker in order to maintain power by whatever means necessary.’