Sena vs Sena: Supreme Court seeks original records from Maharashtra Speaker, to hear Thackeray faction plea on April 8

The Supreme Court on Thursday sought original records pertaining to the plea of the Uddhav Thackeray group seeking disqualification of MLAs, including Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, from the office of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar.

The apex court also raised questions on how the Speaker determined the real party issue between Uddhav Thackeray’s faction and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde solely based on the test of legislative majority.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra heard the Uddhav Sena’s challenge against the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker’s decision not to disqualify members of the Eknath Shinde-led group. The bench asked if the Speaker relied on a legislative majority to decide the real Shiv Sena, not contrary to its judgment?

The apex court in its May 2023 judgment stated that in cases like the present one, assessing which group enjoys a majority in the legislature would be futile. The court underlined that other tests, such as an evaluation of the majority in the organisational wings of the political party, an analysis of the provisions of the party constitution, or any other appropriate test, should be considered.

During the hearing today, the top court asked for Eknath Shinde faction’s response to Uddhav Thackeray faction’s petition by April 1. The Supreme Court scheduled the matter for a final hearing in the week commencing from April 8, clarifying that the aspect of maintainability would be dealt with first.

Appearing for the Uddhav Thackeray faction, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, requested an urgent disposal of the matter, mentioning the scheduled Assembly election in October-November 2024. Meanwhile, Senior Advocate Harish Salve, representing the Eknath Shinde faction, claimed that the Uddhav faction had submitted fake, fabricated, and forged documents before the Speaker. Responding, the bench summoned all original documents related to the disqualification case from the Speaker’s chamber.

Earlier on January 10, the Maharashtra Speaker held that Eknath Shinde’s faction was the real Shiv Sena and refused to disqualify any member from either faction.

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