"This case will determine the moment of democracy and is truly a historical one. I believe without intervention of this court democracy cannot be saved and no government will be allowed to survive. That is why I plead that this petition be allowed and the Governor's action be set aside."Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, arguing for Uddhav Thackeray faction, in Sena Vs Sena
The case is connected to the Maharashtra political crisis that saw the fall of the Uddhav Thackeray-led government last year after rebel MLAs sided with Eknath Shinde, who then went on to become the new Chief Minister.
Since both Thackeray and Shinde belonged to the Shiv Sena, this coup led to a split in the party.
Bhagat Singh Koshyari, the then governor, had asked for a test of majority, but Thackeray resigned, facing defeat, making way for Shinde to take power in alliance with the BJP.
Last month, the Election Commission gave the Shiv Sena name and poll symbol to the Eknath Shinde faction.
The petitions: A constitution bench of the Supreme Court, which reserved its verdict in the case on Thursday, 16 March, was hearing a batch of petitions regarding this. These include:
A petition was filed by Eknath Shinde in June 2022 challenging the notices issued by the then Deputy Speaker against the rebels under the tenth schedule of the Constitution over alleged defection
Petitions filed by the Thackeray group challenged the then Maharashtra governor's decision to call for a trust vote, the swearing-in of Eknath Shinde as the Chief Minister of the Government with the backing of BJP, the election of new Speaker and so on.
Court says: A bench headed by CJI Chandrachud, however, pointed out that the governor had no role in calling for a trust vote.
“You can never allow the Governor to ask for a trust vote when there is absolutely nothing to shake the majority on the floor of the House… The trust vote is not for determining who is to be your leader in the House… Governor’s trust vote is where the majority in the House is shaken. Where was there anything to indicate that?”
Sibal, furthering his arguments on the last day of the hearing, said:
"If 50 members of BJP today support Uddhav Thackeray, will the Governor call for a floor test? The arguments advanced on the other side is against the basic principles of constitutional law."
When the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contended that the rebel MLAs had lost confidence in Uddhav Thackeray, Justice Chandrachud remarked:"Discontent in the party by itself will not justify governor calling a trust vote."