The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition challenging the post-poll coalition of the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress in Maharashtra, PTI reported. The dismissal came a day after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was sworn in as the Maharashtra chief minister after the three parties came together to form government in the state, following a month of political crisis.
Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha spokesperson Pramod Pandit Joshi had filed the plea challenging the post-election alliance, according to ANI. The petition sought a court order declaring the alliance as unconstitutional.
“Do not expect us to go into areas where the court has no jurisdiction,” the court said. “The political parties have to abide by the promises made. We expect parties to abide by promises but if for some reason they don’t, we cannot do anything about it.”
The court noted that in a democratic system, it cannot curb rights of political parties to ally with other parties. “Constitutional morality is different from political morality...it is for the people to judge,” the Supreme Court said, according to Live Law.
The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena, which had ruled the state for the last five years had formed a pre-poll alliance, but fell out after the Assembly election results were declared on October 24. The BJP had emerged the single-largest party with 105 seats in the 288-member Assembly, the Sena came second with 56 seats. The Nationalist Congress Party was able to secure 54 seats, and the Congress 44.
Despite having enough seats to form a government together, the two allies bickered over power-sharing – the chief minister’s post and Cabinet portfolios – resulting in the Shiv Sena starting negotiations with the ideologically different Congress and NCP instead.
With no outcome in sight then, the Centre imposed President’s Rule in Maharashtra on November 12. The Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP continued negotiations to form an alliance, and on November 22 evening, Sharad Pawar announced that Uddhav Thackeray had been unanimously chosen to head the new government. Thus, the oath-taking ceremony of Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar early on November 23 came as a surprise.
The Sena-NCP-Congress moved the Supreme Court against the Maharashtra governor’s decision to invite the BJP to form government. While the top court ordered a floor test to be conducted on Wednesday, Fadnavis resigned as the chief minister and Ajit Pawar as his deputy on Tuesday. Fadnavis conceded that the BJP had failed to form the government, and Ajit Pawar came back to the NCP.
Following Thackeray’s swearing-in ceremony on Thursday evening, six ministers – two each from the three parties – were also sworn in.