Uddhav Thackeray group moves SC against Speaker’s decision to appoint whip backed by Eknath Shinde
Rahul Narvekar had replaced Thackeray loyalist Sunil Prabhu with Bharatsheth Gogavale as the chief whip of the Shiv Sena on Sunday.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led faction of the Shiv Sena on Monday moved the Supreme Court challenging the decision of newly-elected Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narvekar to recognise the new party whip backed by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s camp, reported Bar and Bench. The court has agreed to hear the petition.
“The speaker has no jurisdiction to recognise whips,” advocate AM Singhvi told a vacation bench of Justice Indira Banerjee. “This is changing the status quo of proceedings before this court. The speaker yesterday at the stroke of pen at midnight elected the whip.”
Banerjee said that she does not have the related documents and posted the matter for hearing on July 11 along with other pending pleas related to the Maharashtra political crisis.
On Sunday, Narvekar had replaced Thackeray loyalist Ajay Chaudhary with Shinde as the leader of Shiv Sena’s Legislative Party and also recognised the appointment of Bharatsheth Gogavale as the chief whip. Sunil Prabhu was the chief whip earlier. Narvekar, a BJP MLA, was nominated for the Speaker’s role by the Shinde-led faction.
Shinde was earlier the leader of the Shiv Sena’s Legislative Party. But, he was removed from the post as he revolted against Thackeray, who the chief minister in June at the time of the rebellion. Shinde had claimed the support of 39 of the 55 Shiv Sena MLAs and 10 Independent legislators, reducing the Thackeray-led faction of the party to a minority in the Assembly.
The rebel MLAs were demanding that Thackeray should sever his ties with the Maha Vikas Aghadi government partners – the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress.
The revolt pushed the state into a crisis. Subsequently, the Bharatiya Janata Party asked Thackeray to face a vote of confidence.
On June 29, Thackeray resigned after the Supreme Court rejected the Shiv Sena’s plea against Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s decision asking his government to face a floor test. The next day, Shinde was sworn in as the chief minister and BJP leader Dedendra Fadnavis took oath as his deputy.
The newly-elected chief minister won a floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly held earlier on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will hear the petition about the Speaker along Thackeray-led faction’s plea seeking disqualification of 16 rebel MLAs, including Shinde.
Prabhu’s plea is an application on the already instituted writ petitions filed by the rebel MLAs challenging their disqualification proceedings initiated by Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal. On June 27, the court had granted the rebel MLAs interim relief from disqualification till July 12.
Shinde had also filed a petition challenging Zirwal’s decision to recognise Choudhary as the leader of the Shiv Sena Legislature Party instead of him.