Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Rahul Narvekar on Thursday welcomed the Supreme Court verdict on last year’s Maharashtra political crisis and said it is a “meritorious” judgement and is not about the political situation in the state.
“I don’t think the court gave order on the political situation, it’s a meritorious judgment. It was a fair judgment. So, I welcome the judgment delivered by Supreme Court,” Narvekar told ANI.
The Supreme Court on Thursday held that former Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari was “not justified” to call for a floor test based on the request of Eknath Shinde faction since he did not have enough objective material before him to conclude that the then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had lost the confidence of the House.
A five-judge Constitution bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices MR Shah, Justice Krishna Murari, Justice Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha said it could not disqualify the Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government and reinstate Uddhav Thackeray as Chief Minster because the latter had chosen to resign instead of facing a test of strength in the Assembly.
The court said the political imbroglio in Maharashtra arose as a result of party differences within the Shiv Sena.
“However, the floor test cannot be used as a medium to resolve internal party disputes or intra-party disputes. Dissent and disagreement within a political party must be resolved in accordance with the remedies prescribed under the party constitution, or through any other methods that the party chooses to opt for,” the bench held.
“There is a marked difference between a party not supporting a government, and individuals within a party expressing their discontent with their party leadership and functioning.”
It further said that the Governor is the “titular head of the State government” and he is a constitutional functionary who derives his authority from the Constitution.
“This being the case, the Governor must be cognisant of the constitutional bounds of the power vested in him. He cannot exercise a power that is not conferred on him by the Constitution or a law made under it,” the top court said.
The judgement of the apex court came on a batch of petitions filed by rival groups of the Shiv Sena in relation to the Maharashtra political crisis.
The Whip has to be appointed by a political party, the top court said. The apex court held that the Speaker’s decision to appoint Bharat Gogawale (Eknath Shinde) as the whip of the Shiv Sena party was illegal.
“The political party and not the legislature party appoints the Whip and the Leader of the party in the House. Further, the direction to vote in a particular manner or to abstain from voting is issued by the political party and not the legislature party. The decision of the Speaker as communicated by the Deputy Secretary to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly dated July 3, 2022, is contrary to law.
The Speaker shall recognise the Whip and the Leader who are duly authorised by the Shiv Sena political party with reference to the provisions of the party constitution, after conducting an enquiry in this regard and in keeping with the principles discussed in this judgement,” it held.
The apex court further said that the Speaker must decide on disqualification petitions within a reasonable time.
It also said that MLA has the right to participate in the proceedings of the House regardless of the pendency of any petitions for their disqualification.
“The validity of the proceedings of the House in the interregnum is not “subject to” the outcome of the disqualification petitions,” it added.
This report is filed by ANI news service.