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Supreme Court Issues Notice to Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Over Delay in Disqualification Plea Against Chief Minister and MLAs

By Harshvardhan Sharma      15 July, 2023 06:07 PM      0 Comments
Supreme Court Issues Notice to Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Over Delay in Disqualification Plea Against Chief Minister and MLAs

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker on a plea by Uddhav Thackeray's Shiv Sena against delay in disqualification petitions against Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and other MLAs.

A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, Justices P S Narasimha and Manoj Misra sought a response from Speaker Rahul Narwekar within two weeks.

Senior advocate Devadatt Kamat and advocate Nishanth Patil appeared for party's chief whip Sunil Prabhu in the writ petition, which sought a direction to decide the disqualification petitions in a time bound manner, preferably within two weeks.

The counsel submitted that the Speaker has issued notice on the disqualification petition after the filing of the writ petition on July 4.

The plea by UBT group claimed Speaker’s "inaction" in deciding the disqualification proceedings filed against current Chief Minister Shinde and others is "an act of grave constitutional impropriety", allowing them to hold constitutional post without any legal basis.

In the writ petition, the party's chief contended, "The Speaker has clearly demonstrated by his inaction that he is incapable of functioning as a fair and unbiased Tribunal under the Tenth Schedule, as required by law.”

In its petition, the Thackeray group contended the Speaker has not convened any meeting with regard to the disqualification petitions, pending since June 23, 2022, despite three representations sent to him following the May 11, 2023 Supreme Constitution bench's order to him decide the matter within a reasonable period.

A total of 16 disqualification petitions were filed on June 23, 2022, and notices were issued by the Deputy Speaker (performing the functions of Speaker) on June 25, 2022, granting the rebel MLAs time to file their reply by June  27, 2022, the plea said.

The Supreme Court, by its order on June 27, 2022, granted time to Shinde and Bharat Gogawale and other similarly situated MLAs to file their replies by July, 2022.

However, no reply has been filed till date. Thus, the right to file their replies in these 16 petitions stands closed, it contended.

"A long period has elapsed ever since the filing of the disqualification petitions against the delinquent MLAs of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, but they have still escaped the constitutional consequences of committing the sin of defection," it said.

"Despite categorical directions of this Court in its decision in Subhash Desai (May 11, 2023) for the Speaker to decide the pending disqualification petitions, and despite three representations submitted by the petitioner regarding the same, the Speaker has deliberately failed to take any action regarding adjudication of disqualification petitions against the delinquent MLAs of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. It is, thus, respectfully submitted that the circumstances have further precipitated subsequent to the decision of this Court in Subhash Desai, and the Speaker is consciously avoiding his duties as a Tribunal under the Tenth Schedule. Accordingly, it is respectfully submitted that it is now imperative for this Hon’ble Court to direct the Speaker to decide the disqualification petitions filed by the petitioner against delinquent members of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly expeditiously, within a time-bound manner," the plea said.



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