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Law

Relief to Rebel Sena MLAs, SC Says No Action on Disqualification Notices Until July 11

Eknath Shinde of the rebel camp moved the apex court against the disqualification notice issued by the deputy speaker to him and 15 other rebel legislators, calling the action 'illegal and unconstitutional'.

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New Delhi: In a relief to rebel Shiv Sena lawmakers, the Supreme Court on Monday kept in abeyance the disqualification proceedings before the deputy speaker of the Maharashtra assembly until July 11 and sought responses to pleas by rebel MLAs questioning the legality of notices seeking their disqualification.

The top court, however, refused to pass any interim order on the plea of the Maharashtra government that there should not be any floor test in the assembly and said they can always approach it in case of illegality.

A vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and J.B. Pardiwala directed the Maharashtra government to protect the life, liberty and property of 39 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs and their family members.

While issuing notice to the Maharashtra deputy speaker, the top court directed him to put on affidavit records of no trust notice served upon him by rebel MLAs.

The top court also recorded the statement of Maharashtra’s counsel that adequate steps have been taken to protect the life and property of rebel MLAs. The matter will now be heard on July 11.

Rebel camp’s plea

Eknath Shinde of the rebel camp moved the apex court against the disqualification notice issued by the deputy speaker to him and 15 other rebel legislators, calling the action “illegal and unconstitutional” and seeking a stay on it.

Also read: Maharashtra Crisis: Eknath Shinde Moves SC for Stay on Disqualification Notice

Shinde in his plea said that he is constrained to invoke the jurisdiction of theSupreme Court under Article 32 of the constitution, challenging the “arbitrary and illegal” exercise of provisions of Members of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on Ground of Defection) Rules, 1986 by the deputy speaker.

“The illegal and unconstitutional action of the Deputy Speaker insofar as recognising Ajay Choudhury as the leader of the Shiv Sena Legislature Party (SSLP) despite the said request being admittedly made by a minority faction of the SSLP.

Further, the said Respondent No. 1 (Deputy Speaker), even after belonging to the minority faction of the SSLP, has also filed a Petition under Rule 6 of MLA Defection Rules seeking disqualification of the Petitioner under Para-2(1)(a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India for which the Petitioner received a notice dated June 2, 2022,” the plea said.

The petition contended that the seat of Speaker is vacant since Nana Patole resigned from office in February 2021 and there is no authority who can adjudicate upon the disqualification petition under which the impugned notice has been issued to the petitioner.

The plea filed through advocate Abhinay Sharma said the deputy speaker cannot disqualify any member under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution during the pendency of his own removal resolution and termed his action in recognising Ajay Choudhary and Sunil Prabhu as Leader and Chief Whip of SSLP as illegal.

The petition has sought directions to the deputy speaker to not take any action in the Disqualification Petition under Rule 6 of MLA Defection Rules pending before Speaker of Maharashtra State Legislative Assembly and not take any action on the same until the resolution for removal of deputy speaker is decided.

(With PTI inputs)