2022 Maharashtra Crisis: SC Refuses To Refer Pleas to Larger Bench for Reconsideration of 2016 Nabam Rebia Order

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to refer pleas related to the June 2022 Maharashtra political crisis triggered by the Shiv Sena’s division to a seven-judge bench for reconsideration of the 2016 Nabam Rebia judgement.

The 2016 judgment deals with powers of assembly speakers to decide on disqualification pleas.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud said whether the 2016 Nabam Rebia judgement requires reference or not will be considered with the merits of the case on February 21.

“Consequently, hearing on merits of the case will be held on Tuesday, 10:30 am,” said the bench, which also comprises justices M R Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and P S Narasimha.

Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and A M Singhvi, appearing for the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena, had sought reference of the cases to a seven-judge bench for a re-look at the Nabam Rebia judgement.

Senior advocates Harish Salve and N K Kaul, appearing for the party’s Eknath Shinde-led faction, had opposed the reference to a larger bench.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Maharashtra governor, had also opposed any move to refer the matter to a larger bench.

In 2016, a five-judge Constitution bench, while deciding the Nabam Rebia case of Arunachal Pradesh, had held that the assembly speaker cannot proceed with a plea for disqualification of MLAs if a prior notice seeking removal of the speaker is pending before the House.

The judgement had come to the rescue of the rebel MLAs led by Shinde, now the chief minister of Maharashtra. The Thackeray faction had sought their disqualification even while a notice of the Shinde group for the removal of Maharashtra Assembly Deputy Speaker Narhari Sitaram Zirwal, a Thackeray loyalist, was pending before the House.

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