The Supreme Court was slated to hear a slew of petitions pertaining to the ongoing Maharashtra political crisis on Monday, 11 July. These include:
Petition filed by Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena camp opposing the Maharashtra governor’s decision (on 30 June) to invite rebel Sena MLAs supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form a government in the state
Petition by Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena camp challenging the newly appointed Maharashtra Assembly speaker's action of recognising the whip of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's group as the whip of the Shiv Sena
Petition by Thackeray-faction’s Sunil Prabhu seeking suspension of 16 rebel Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) till the final adjudication of the disqualification proceedings initiated against them
Petitions by Shinde faction challenging the disqualification proceedings against them
The dissident Shiv Sena camp led by Shinde toppled the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government after Uddhav Thackeray stepped down as chief minister on 29 June, ahead of a floor test. Shinde was subsequently appointed the chief minister of Maharashtra.
Amid all the upheaval that Maharashtra underwent recently, here's a closer look at the petitions underlining the turbulence.
Petition Opposing Guv's Decision To Invite Rebel Sena MLAs To Form Govt
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Friday, 8 July, moved the Supreme Court challenging Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's decision to invite rebel Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde to form the government in the state.
The petition filed through party general secretary Subhash Desai, according to Hindustan Times, dubs the governor’s decision to ask Eknath Shinde to be the chief minister of the new coalition and the head of the 39 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs “ex-facie unconstitutional.” Their ground for claiming this is that the rebel MLAs have not merged with the BJP, and thus are liable to be disqualified under the Tenth Schedule.
The petition also raises questions about the validity of the Assembly proceedings conducted on 3 and 4 July (BJP MLA Rahul Narwekar elected as new speaker) and the floor test in which rebel Sena MLAs-BJP coalition proved their majority.
The Thackeray camp has argued that the floor test was illegal since 16 rebel MLAs who voted were facing disqualification.
Petition Challenging the Newly Appointed Maharashtra Assembly Speaker's Action of Recognising Shinde's Whip Nominee
Earlier this month, the Uddhav Thackeray faction had filed a writ petition challenging the recognising of the whip nominated by the Shinde camp as the chief whip of the Shiv Sena by the newly elected Maharashtra Assembly speaker Rahul Narvekar.
This petition was filed by Sunil Prabhu, the whip appointed by Thackeray-led group. According to LiveLaw, Senior Advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi had mentioned the plea before a vacation bench of the top court for urgent listing, and submitted that the speaker has no jurisdiction of recognising Shinde’s whip nominee, as Thackeray was still the head of the official Shiv Sena party.
Petition Seeking Suspension of Rebel MLA's
After losing power, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance on Friday, 1 July, moved the Supreme Court, seeking the suspension of 16 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs till the deputy speaker decides the disqualification petitions filed against them.
Shiv Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu has sought the suspension of newly inducted Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and 15 more rebel MLAs against whom disqualification petitions are filed, till a final decision is taken on their disqualification.
The plea also seeks an order restraining them "from entering the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly or participating in any proceeding related to the House till the final adjudication of the disqualification proceedings against them."
Petition by Shinde Faction Challenging Disqualification Proceedings
The Supreme Court had on 27 June ordered a maintenance of status quo in the Maharashtra political crisis till 11 July, when it will resume hearing the pleas by Eknath Shinde and 15 other rebel Shiv Sena MLAs regarding the disqualification proceedings against them.
The rebels were also given till 11 July to respond to the disqualification notices sent to them, while the deputy speaker and Uddhav Thackeray faction were told they can approach the apex court if any attempt to conduct a floor test to change the status of the Assembly was made before then.
However, when the Thackeray faction did move the top court in that regard, they refused to stay the floor test ordered by the Maharashtra governor against the beleaguered Sena-NCP-Congress government. The court did, however, issue notice in the petitions and said that the floor test proceedings would be subject to the final outcome in the writ petition filed by Sunil Prabhu.