The Supreme Court on Thursday concluded the hearing of a batch of cross-petitions from the Uddhav Thackeray and CM Eknath Shinde factions concerning the political crisis in Maharashtra and reserved its verdict. A five-judge Constitution bench, led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, heard arguments from both Uddhav and Eknath factions as well as the office of the governor, before reserving its judgement.
The bench, which was composed of Justices MR Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli, and PS Narasimha, finished the hearing after senior lawyers Kapil Sibal, AM Singhvi, Devadatt Kamat, and advocate Amit Anand Tiwari had presented their arguments.
Senior advocates Neeraj Kishan Kaul, Harish Salve, Mahesh Jethmalani, and Abhikalp Pratap Singh argued on behalf of the Eknath Shinde-led faction in the Supreme Court.
After hearing arguments for nine days, starting February 21, a five-judge constitutional bench has reserved its decision.
On February 17, the Supreme Court allowed the petitioners to file a ‘review petition’ against the 2016 judgment, which had ruled that a floor test is the best way to decide if the CM enjoys a majority in the Assembly.
The ruling established that a speaker’s power to disqualify MLAs is subject to the overall powers of the assembly and cannot be used while a notice for removal is pending.
The Supreme Court refused to interfere with the governor’s decision, thus paving the way for the floor test to decide the fate of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
With the realization that he was about to be defeated, Thackeray stepped down, thus allowing a Shiv Sena-BJP coalition led by Shinde to take control of the government.
On August 23, 2022, the Supreme Court of India, with then Chief Justice N V Ramana leading a three-judge bench, considered petitions filed by two factions of the Shiv Sena Party, which raised a number of constitutional questions regarding matters of defection, merger, and disqualification.
The court formulated several legal questions and referred them to a five-judge bench for further consideration.
Last month, the EC declared the Shinde faction as the real Shive Sena, denying the Thackeray bloc the bow and arrow symbol of the party.
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