New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday scheduled the hearing of the matter arising out of the rebellion by Eknath Shinde and other MLAs against Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in Maharashtra, on February 14.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Thackeray faction, submitted before a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that the matter was urgent as the Election Commission was conducting proceedings on the issue of control over the party and the symbol.
Sibal further argued that the court has to primarily decide the issue whether the 2016 five-judge judgement of the Nabam Rabia case should be referred to the seven-judge bench. The judgment restricted the power of the Speaker to decide disqualification petitions if a resolution seeking his removal was pending.
The bench — also comprising Justices M.R. Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli, and P.S. Narasimha — fixed the matter for hearing on February 14. Senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul along with advocate Abhikalp Pratap Singh appeared for Eknath Shinde’s group of the Shiv Sena. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta represented the Governor.
In August this year, a three-judge bench of the apex court had said that a five-judge constitution bench will hear a batch of petitions filed by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray faction on queries related to defection, merger, and disqualification.
A three-judge bench of the apex court, in its reference order, had framed first issue whether notice for removal of a Speaker restricts him from continuing with disqualification proceedings under Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, as held by this court in Nebam Rabia (by a five-judge bench).
Thackeray suffered a major setback after Eknath Shinde and other MLAs rebelled against him and ousted him as the Maharashtra CM. They also laid claims to the Shiv Sena party and its symbol as well.
The top court restrained the Speaker from proceeding on disqualification petitions against Shinde and other MLAs and subsequently allowed a fresh vote of confidence in the Assembly, after which Thackeray resigned.
The apex court on July 11 last year asked the newly appointed Maharashtra Assembly Speaker not to go ahead with proceedings on the disqualification petitions.