Maharashtra political crisis: SC to hear batch of pleas by rival Sena factions on February 14

10 January, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma

Supreme Court of India National

The Supreme Court on Tuesday scheduled a hearing on a slew of petitions filed by rival Shiv Sena groups led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his predecessor Uddhav Thackeray for Febr...

The Supreme Court on Tuesday scheduled a hearing on a slew of petitions filed by rival Shiv Sena groups led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his predecessor Uddhav Thackeray for February 14.

The petitions concern the political crisis that erupted with the mass defection of rebel Sena MLAs, resulting in the fall of the Uddhav-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) administration. The Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments on whether the case should be considered by a seven-judge panel or a five-judge bench on February 14.

On December 13, senior counsel Kapil Sibal, representing the Uddhav side, told the Supreme Court that he will argue in favour of referring the case to a seven-judge panel.

“It has been agreed that Mr. Sibal shall circulate a brief note of his submission on proposed reference to a seven-judge bench. The note shall be submitted two weeks in advance to Governor of Maharashtra and private respondents,” the bench stated in its order.

The top court also noted that other parties can also make a note of their submissions.

On July 13, 2016, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, during a hearing in the Nabam Rebia case, held that the Speaker cannot initiate disqualification proceedings when a resolution seeking his removal is pending.

Earlier, the Uddhav faction submitted in the apex court that an unconstitutional government was running Maharashtra.

In August, a three-judge panel of the Supreme Court referred the grounds in the plea, brought by competing Shiv Sena units in regard to the Maharashtra political crisis, to a five-judge Constitution bench.

It had stated that some of the difficulties would need the consideration of a bigger Constitutional Court.

The panel further directed the Speaker of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Rahul Narwekar, not to act on the new disqualification notices issued against Uddhav Sena members.

Several petitions filed by both Shiv Sena groups are now awaiting arbitration by the Supreme Court.