Maharashtra crisis: SC keeps disqualification of rebel Sena MLAs in abeyance till July 11
New Delhi, Jun 27: The Supreme Court has kept in abeyance the disqualification proceedings against 16 rebel MLAs till July 11. Further the court also asked the respondents to file a reply to the petitions filed by the rebel MLAs who had challenged the competence of the deputy Speaker to issue a disqualification notice when their communication seeking his removal is pending.
The top court, however, refused to pass any interim order on the plea of the Maharashtra government that there should not be any floor test in the Assembly and said they can always approach it in case of illegality.
A vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and J B Pardiwala directed the Maharashtra government to protect the life, liberty, and property of 39 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs and their family members.
While issuing notice to the Maharashtra deputy speaker, the top court directed him to put on affidavit records of no trust notice served upon him by rebel MLAs.
The top court also recorded the statement of Maharashtra's counsel that adequate steps have been taken to protect the life and property of rebel MLA
"Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance has lost the majority in the house as 38 of the members of the Shiv Sena Legislature Party have withdrawn their support thus bringing it below the majority in the house," claimed Eknath Shinde in his petition filed in Supreme court.
Senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul appearing for Eknath Shinde and others told the Supreme Court that the Deputy Speaker cannot proceed with the disqualification proceedings when the resolution seeking his removal is pending.
He said that threats have been issued to rebel MLAs land the atmosphere is such that they can't exercise their legal rights in Maharashtra.
The apex court asks Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde why he has not approached the High Court with his plea against disqualification notices issued to him and other rebel MLAs.
Kaul said they didn't approach the High Court as Supreme Court had passed the order in many number of cases like floor test, disqualification.
Kaul said Shinde & other MLAs didn't approach HC was that a minority of the legislative party is subverting the state machinery, attacking our houses. They're saying that our dead bodies will return from Assam. Atmosphere is not conducive for us to exercise our rights in Mumbai.
Shinde and a sizable number of MLAs rebelled against the leadership of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on June 21 and are currently in Guwahati in Assam. Their main demand is that the Sena withdraws from the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance, which also comprises the Congress and NCP.
With dissident Shiv Sena MLAs led by Eknath Shinde staying put in Guwahati for the last five days, the party is preparing for a legal battle amid the crisis, a Sena MP said on Sunday.
Devdutt Kamat, the legal advisor-cum-counsel for Shiv Sena, said the Deputy Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly has full powers to adjudicate in the absence of the Speaker- the post is lying vacant.
A day earlier, the Maharashtra legislature secretariat had issued 'summons' to 16 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, including senior minister Eknath Shinde, seeking written replies by the evening of June 27 to the complaints seeking their disqualification.
"A legislature party is not supreme and majority in the legislature party has no meaning (if) it is formed from the original party," Kamat told reporters flanked by Shiv Sena chief spokesman and Lok Sabha MP Arvind Sawant.
"We are preparing for a legal battle," Sawant said. Kamat said disqualification proceedings have been initiated against 16 rebel MLAs as per para 2.1.A of the 10th schedule of the Constitution.
"Several verdicts of the Supreme Court had shown that actions of legislators outside the House amount to the anti-party activity and they are liable to be disqualified. They haven't responded to the party directives to attend meetings convened," he said.
The rebel MLAs have asserted that they are Shivsainiks of Bal Thackeray and demanded that party president Uddhav Thackeray walk out of the Maha Vikas Aghadi and revive ties with BJP.