ANI Photo | Shiv Sena vs Shiv Sena: Uddhav Thackeray group objects before SC over Maharashtra Speaker meeting with CM Shinde

Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray group has filed an application in the Supreme Court, objecting to a meeting between Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde ahead of the verdict in the Shiv Sena MLA disqualification case.
“It is highly improper for the Speaker to meet Eknath Shinde just three days before deciding the disqualification petitions filed against Shinde,” the application filed by Sunil Prabhu of Thackeray camp stated.
It has raised objections to Speaker Narwekar meeting Shinde at his residence on January 7.
The verdict by the Speaker is scheduled to be announced on January 10.
On December 15, 2023, the Supreme Court extended till January 10 the time for the Speaker to pronounce verdict on disqualification petitions against MLAs including Shinde.
In its application, the Thackeray faction stated that the Speaker, as the adjudicating authority under the Tenth Schedule, is “required to act fairly and impartially”.
It said the conduct of the Speaker must inspire confidence and justify the constitutional trust reposed in its high office.
“However, the present act of the Speaker raises questions about the fairness and impartiality of the decision-making process,” the application stated.
“The act of the Speaker is in violation of the legal maxim and this application has been filed in view of the alarming news that the Speaker met Shinde at his official residence on January 7, three days prior to the deadline when the decision in disqualification petitions against Shinde is to be pronounced on January 10,” stated the application.
The application said the meeting should be brought to notice to bring it on record and pass the order.
The application was filed in the petition pending before the apex court seeking expeditious disposal of disqualification petitions against the Shinde faction.
Earlier, the top court had rejected the proposal of the Maharashtra Speaker that he could conclude proceedings on cross-disqualification petitions filed by Shiv Sena factions by February 29, 2024.
The CJI had pointed out that the Constitution bench judgment in the Shiv Sena case was delivered in May this year and the incidents took place in July 2022.
The apex court had expressed disapproval over the delay by the Speaker in deciding the disqualification petitions and said it had been asking the Speaker to decide on the matter for months.
The apex court was hearing a plea filed by Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena seeking direction to the Speaker to take an expeditious decision on the disqualification petitions pending against rebel Sena MLAs led by Eknath Shinde.
The plea was filed by MLA Sunil Prabhu of Uddhav Thackeray’s group of Shiv Sena.
The top court had noted that a total of 34 petitions filed by both groups of Shiv Sena against each other seeking the disqualification of 56 MLAs are pending before the Speaker.
The disqualification pleas have been pending since the Maharashtra political crises started. The plea sought direction for the Speaker to decide disqualification petitions within a time-bound manner.
The disqualification petitions against the rebel MLAs were filed by Sunil Prabhu, the Shiv Sena party Whip appointed by Uddhav Thackeray, on 23 June 2022, after the MLAs revolted against Thackeray. The notices of disqualification were issued by Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal in the absence of the Speaker.
On May 11, a five-judge Constitution bench had held that 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.
In August 2022, the top court’s three-judge bench referred to a five-judge Constitution bench for the issues involved in the petition filed by rival groups of Shiv Sena about the Maharashtra political crisis.
On June 29, 2022, the top court gave a go-ahead to the floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly on June 30. It had refused to stay the Maharashtra Governor’s direction to the then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority support on the floor of the House on June 30.
After the apex court’s order, Uddhav Thackeray announced his resignation as the Chief Minister and Eknath Shinde was later sworn in as the Chief Minister

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