The Supreme Court also requested the response of the Vice President of Maharashtra and the state government to the petitions of Shinde and 15 other dissenting MPs, challenging the notice of disqualification sent to them and published the case for a new hearing on July 11.
The rebel Maharashtra Shiv Sena MPs unanimously chose party leader Eknath Shinde as their leader. ANI
The Supreme Court on Monday granted interim relief to Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde and his rebel group by extending until July 12 the deadline to respond to the notice of disqualification sent by Maharashtra’s vice president.
The previous deadline was due to expire today (June 27) at 5:30 p.m. It was extended by a vacation bench from Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala heard petitions filed by the Shinde faction challenging disqualification notices issued by the Vice President to 16 rebel MPs as well as the appointment of Ajay Choudhari as as legislative party leader Shiv Sena.
“As an interim measure, the time allowed by the Vice President for petitioners or other like-minded MPs to submit their submissions by 5:30 p.m. today is extended until July 12,” the court ordered.
The court, however, refused to issue an interim order on the grounds of the Maharashtra government that there should be no ground test at the Assembly and said it could always approach it in case of illegality.
In his plea to the Supreme Court, Shinde said the Maha Vikas Aghadi Alliance (MVA) lost a majority in the Maharashtra Assembly as 38 of the Shiv Sena legislative party members withdrew their support.
Shinde further stated that the Vice President has lost his position as the MVA government has been reduced to a minority and in such a situation he has no power to invoke the provisions of the Rules of Assembly Members Maharashtra Legislative Assembly (Disqualification for Defection), 1986, and send notices to him and 15 other MPs, who are part of the splinter group of 38 Sena legislators.
A vacancies bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala also demanded response from Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal and Sena Chief Whip Sunil Prabhu and Legislative Party Leader Anil Chaudhary on the petitions of Shinde and 15 other dissenting MPs challenging the notice of disqualification sent to and released the case for a rehearing on July 11.
“Counter-affidavit must be filed within five days, reply three days after. File July 11,” the court said.
The Supreme Court told the Vice President that “haste can have undesirable consequences.”
The Supreme Court also recorded the statement of the Maharashtra lawyer that no harm will be caused to the life and property of the rebel MPs.
“Chitnis (lawyer from Maharashtra) states that adequate measures have already been taken and that the state government will further ensure that no harm is done to the life, liberty and property of the MPs” , the court said in its order.
The court also issued the directive after the vice president questioned the authenticity of the rebel side’s motion to withdraw. On June 22, the Shinde faction had filed a notice of dismissal under Article 179 of the constitution and Rule 11 of the Maharashtra Assembly Standing Orders.
The Supreme Court also requested full records from the vice president’s office, after his lawyer Rajeev Dhavan told the bench he questioned the authenticity of the motion to dismiss because it was sent by email.
During the hearing, the Supreme Court also asked the rebels’ lawyer why they did not go to the Bombay High Court first. To this, lawyer NK Kaul replied that the houses and properties of the rebels are under threat and the situation is not conducive for the pursuit of their rights in Mumbai.
With agency contributions.
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