Set timeline to decide on disqualification pleas against Eknath Shinde MLAs: SC pulls up Maharashtra Speaker

Sep 18, 2023 05:04 PM IST

The Supreme Court fast-tracked the hearing of the disqualification petitions against Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde and other Shiv Sena MLAs.

The Supreme Court on Monday fast-tracked the hearing of the disqualification petitions against Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde and other Shiv Sena MLAs and directed Speaker Rahul Narwekar to list the matter before him within a week and set down a time schedule to decide disqualification pleas.

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde.(PTI file)
Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde.(PTI file)

The Supreme Court told the Maharashtra Speaker to show deference and respect to the Supreme Court order of May 11 requiring him to decide on the disqualification petitions of rebel Shiv Sena MLAs within a reasonable time.

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The court also observed that nothing has happened in the matter except for the issuance of notice and asked the Speaker to keep the matter within a week for passing procedural directions.

"In the hearing, the Supreme Court said as per its judgment released on May 11, wherein it was decided that Maharashtra assembly Speaker will take a decision regarding disqualification, no proceedings were held so far even after four months. The court kept waiting for it...Without taking much time, the disqualification proceedings should begin," Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Anil Desai said on the top court's disapproval of Narwekar's delay in decision on disqualification petitions.

Maharashtra Assembly Speaker reacts

Narwekar, reacting to the Supreme Court order, said, “The copy of the order has not yet been received. The hearing in the disqualification petitions will take its own course. The decision will be taken in a reasonable time.”

“According to my information, the Supreme Court has recognised that the Speaker is a Constitutional position, and the court cannot intervene in his functioning,” he added.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut, meanwhile, accused the Maharashtra Speaker of deliberately delaying a decision on disqualification petitions filed against MLAs from Shinde's camp by the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction.

This inaction shows Narwekar is supporting the "unconstitutional" government, Raut alleged while speaking to reporters.

He said the Supreme Court has made it clear that some MLAs of a political party switching to another party does not mean a split.

"Despite a clear directive from the Supreme Court, the speaker is wasting time when it comes to deciding on the disqualification petitions. He is supporting the unconstitutional government in the state,” Raut alleged.

The Uddhav Thackeray faction of Shiv Sena had filed disqualification petitions against Shinde and other MLAs, including some cabinet ministers.

“We will mention these issues before the Supreme Court and hopefully we will get justice,” said Raut.

He also trained guns on ministers and leaders controlling sugar mills in Maharashtra.

The Rajya Sabha member said he has written to Central investigation agencies several times about such malpractices.

"The Pravara sugar mill controlled by Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil (state revenue minister from BJP) is facing a corruption charge of 200 crore while the sugar mill controlled by Rahul Kul (BJP legislator) is facing a corruption charge of 500 crore. Even the case of Jarandeshwar sugar mill (linked to Deputy CM Ajit Pawar) is similar,” Raut claimed.

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