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Assembly Speaker not to act on disqualification against Sena MLAs: SC

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The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Speaker of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Rahul Narwekar not to take any action on the new disqualification notices issued against the members of Shiv Sena. A bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, and Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Maharashtra Governor, to inform its direction to the newly-appointed Assembly Speaker.

The order of the bench came after senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Uddhav Thackeray camp, mentioned the matter for urgent listing of the pleas saying the matters were posted for today but were not listed today. “The disqualification plea is listed tomorrow before the Speaker.

Let there be no disqualification until the matter is decided,” Sibal told the bench. Hearing this, the CJI asked Solicitor General to inform the Assembly Speaker not to take any decision until the pleas are decided by the apex court. “Please inform the Assembly Speaker not to take any decision until the plea is decided.

Please inform the speaker through your office,” the CJI told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who agreed to convey the message to the Speaker. The bench said the matter will require the constitution of the bench and it will take some time to be listed. It also clarified that the matter will not be listed tomorrow as well.

During the summer vacation, the bench had listed a number of petitions on the Maharashtra political crisis on July 11. There are various petitions pending before the apex court filed by both the factions of Shiv Sena.

Uddhav Thackeray-led faction has recently approached the top court challenging the Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari’s decision to invite Eknath Shinde to form the government and also the Speaker’s election and floor test. They had also challenged the newly appointed Maharashtra Assembly Speaker’s action recognizing the whip of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde group as the whip of Shiv Sena.

The plea said the newly appointed Speaker has no jurisdiction to recognize whips nominated by Shinde as Uddhav Thackeray is still the head of Shiv Sena’s official party. Thackeray camp’s Sunil Prabhu had filed a plea seeking suspension from the Maharashtra Assembly of new Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and 15 rebel MLAs against whom disqualification pleas are pending.

Shinde group’s plea challenging the disqualification notices issued by the Deputy Speaker to 16 rebel MLAs as well as the appointment of Ajay Choudhary as Shiv Sena Legislature Party leader, is also pending before the apex court. On June 29, the top court gave a go-ahead to the floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly on June 30.

Refusing 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, the bench had issued notice on Prabhu’s plea against floor test. On June 27, the top court granted interim relief to Shinde and other rebel MLAs to file their reply on disqualification notices issued to them by Deputy Speaker by July 12, 5.30 pm. Earlier, Deputy Speaker had granted them time to file a reply by June 27, 5.30 pm.

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