The Supreme Court will hear a batch of pleas on the Maharashtra political crisis filed by the Shiv Sena factions led by Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde on November 29, when it is likely to issue some directions.
A five-judge bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, M R Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and P S Narasimha on Tuesday asked both the parties to file their written submissions and a joint compilation on the issues to be adjudicated by the constitution bench.
The bench said, “It has been agreed by the counsels of both the parties that they will meet and formulate the issues which arise for considerations and deciding the reference before the constitution bench. List the matter on November 29 for directions.” On August 23, a three-judge bench of the top court headed by then chief justice N V Ramana had formulated several questions of law and referred to a five-judge bench the petitions filed by the factions raising several constitutional questions related to defection, merger and disqualification.
The top court had ordered the listing of petitions before the constitution bench and directed the Election Commission not to pass any orders on the Shinde faction’s plea that it be considered the real Shiv Sena and granted the party’s poll symbol.
It had said the batch of petitions raise important constitutional issues relating to the 10th schedule of the Constitution pertaining to disqualification, power of the Speaker and Governor and judicial review.
The apex court said the proposition of law laid down by the constitution bench in the Nabam Rebia case relating to 10th schedule stands on a contradictory reasoning which requires gap filling to uphold constitutional morality.
It had asked the constitution bench to look into constitutional issues whether notice for removal of speaker restricts him from continuing with disqualification proceedings, whether a petition under Article 32 or 226 lies against disqualification proceedings, can a court hold that a member is deemed to be disqualified by virtue of his/her actions, what is status of proceedings in the house pending disqualification petitions against the members.
The Tenth Schedule of the Constitution provides for the prevention of defection of the elected and nominated members from their political party and contains stringent provisions against defections.
The Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena had earlier submitted that party MLAs loyal to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde can save themselves from disqualification under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution only by merging with another political party.
The top court had asked the Shinde faction to redraft the legal issues of split, merger, defection and disqualification raised in petitions filed by the Thackeray camp that are to be adjudicated upon following the recent political crisis in Maharashtra.
The Shinde group had said the anti-defection law is not a weapon for a leader who has lost the confidence of his own party to lock his members and somehow hang on to power.
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