Shiv Sena political crisis: How can we reinstate chief minister who did not face floor test, asks SC
The court posed the question as it observed that the governor’s action in calling for a trust vote was illegal since it led to Uddhav Thackeray’s resignation.
The Supreme Court on Thursday asked Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena how it could reinstate a chief minister who had not faced the floor test, while hearing the petitions related to the political crisis in Maharashtra that took place after the split in the Shiv Sena in June, reported Live Law.
The Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government, also comprising the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, was toppled after Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, who was the governor at the time, had asked Uddhav Thackeray, the chief minister at the time, to take a trust vote on June 28. Thackeray had resigned a day later after the Supreme Court refused to stay the vote of no confidence.
The vote came after Eknath Shinde rebelled against Thackeray and said he had the support of 39 of the 55 Shiv Sena MLAs and 10 Independent legislators. This reduced the Thackeray-led faction of the party to a minority in the Assembly.
On June 30, Eknath Shinde was sworn in as the Maharashtra chief minister with Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis as his deputy.
A Constitution bench hearing the petitions headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud reserved its verdict on Thursday.
“So according to you we do what?” the bench asked Thackeray on the final day of the hearing. “Reinstate? But you resigned. That’s like the court being told that you reinstate a government which has resigned.”
The court posed the question as it admitted that it finds the governor’s action in calling for a trust vote is illegal since it led to Thackeray’s resignation who refused to face the floor test, accepting that he was in a minority.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the Thackeray faction, said that the plea does not seek to reinstate him as the chief minister but set the state of affairs as they were earlier before the political crisis.
“No, but that would’ve been a logical thing to do provided that you had lost the trust on floor,” Chandrachud said. “Because then, clearly you’ve been ousted from power based on trust vote which is set aside. Look at the intellectual conundrum. It’s not that you’ve been ousted from power as a result of trust vote which was wrongly summoned by government. You chose not to face it.”
At its hearing on Wednesday, the court had said that the governor cannot ask for a trust vote when there is absolutely nothing to shake the majority of the floor of the house. “Governor may actually precipitate the falling of a government,” the top court had said. “That is very very serious for our democracy.”
The court had asked why the governor felt the need to call for a trust vote. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued that the rebels had lost confidence in Thackeray. To which the court had said that discontent within the party does not justify governor’s decision.
At the final day of the hearing, Sibal, in his rejoinder argument, had urged the court to set aside the governor’s order calling for a trust vote, asserting that democracy would be in danger if it is not overturned.
Last month, the Election Commission recognised the faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde as the real Shiv Sena and allocated it the bow and arrow symbol. The poll body had also allowed Thackeray faction to keep its interim symbol, the flaming torch.