The Shiv Sena on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court against Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s refusal to grant them extra time to demonstrate the requisite majority to form government in the state, LiveLaw reported.
The party sought an urgent hearing of its petition on Tuesday night itself in the top court, according to PTI. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal will represent Shiv Sena.
However, the Supreme Court’s registry asked the party to mention the matter on Wednesday at 10.30 am as it would not be possible to form a bench on Tuesday night, Bar and Bench reported. The Sena’s second plea against the President’s Rule is expected to be filed on Wednesday.
On Monday, the governor rejected Shiv Sena’s request for extra time to get letters of support and invited the Nationalist Congress Party, the third largest party in the state, to stake claim to form government. However, even as the NCP and alliance partner Congress were discussing ways to form the government, the governor recommended President’s Rule in the state. The governor had given NCP time till 8.30 pm on Tuesday to prove majority.
In the petition, Shiv Sena called the governor’s actions “ex facie arbitrary and malafide”. The party said Koshyari gave 48 hours to Bharatiya Janata Party and just 24 hours to them to get letters of support. “It also betrays inherent malafide against the petitioners herein in as much as it seeks to treat the petitioners differently and adversely compared to the treatment that the honourable governor has meted out to the BJP,” the petition said.
It alleged that the governor has acted in haste at the behest of the BJP, Bar and Bench reported. The action of the governor in rejecting three days’ time to Shiv Sena is part of the “well-concerted plan of the BJP to invoke Article 356”, the petition said.
The petition stated that the majority cannot be decided by the governor’s subjective assessment and said the floor of the house is the only “constitutionally ordained forum” to test support. “The governor is duty bound to allow reasonable time for political parties to conclude their negotiation on government formation and not act as an agent mouthpiece of the Central government,” it added.
The Sena’s petition sought quashing of the governor’s decision and to grant them a reasonable amount of time to prove majority.
Earlier in the day, the party had said it would file a second petition in the Supreme Court if President’s Rule was imposed in Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, the Congress also criticised Koshyari’s report stating that the Assembly is unable to elect a leader as chief minister. Maharashtra Congress spokesman Sachin Sawant condemned his actions and said it was taken in a hurry. “This raises questions about the governor’s impartiality,” he said. “This also raises doubt whether the governor is acting under pressure.”
The political stalemate in the state took a new turn on Monday after the Congress announced that it needed more time to talk to its ally, the NCP, just minutes before the 7.30 pm deadline that the governor had set for Shiv Sena. He had invited the Shiv Sena to stake claim on Sunday after the Bharatiya Janata Party said it lacked numbers despite winning the most seats in last month’s elections.
In the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, the BJP won 105 seats, emerging as the single largest party, but falling short of the majority mark of 145. The Sena with 56 seats came second, while NCP and Congress won 54 and 44 seats respectively.