SC asks Maharashtra Speaker to set timeline for deciding disqualification pleas against CM Shinde, others

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Maharashtra assembly speaker to spell out the timeline within a week for adjudication of the disqualification petitions filed against Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Shiv Sena MLAs loyal to him who had tied up with the BJP to form a new government in June 2022.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra referred to the May 11 verdict of the apex court on the Maharashtra political crisis and the direction issued by it to the speaker to decide the disqualification petitions within a reasonable time.

The speaker has to honour the dignity of the Supreme Court and abide by its verdict, the bench said.

It asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the speaker, to inform it about the time frame being set by the House chair for disposal of the disqualification petitions.

“We expect deference and dignity to the directions issued by the Supreme Court,” the bench said and listed the plea by Shiv Sena (UBT) faction seeking disqualification of Shinde and other Shiv Sena MLAs supporting him after two weeks.

The speaker is a “tribunal under the tenth schedule of the Constitution”, and as a tribunal, he is amenable to the court’s jurisdiction, the bench said, adding nothing has been done about the pending disqualification petitions after the May 11 judgement.

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“We now direct that the procedural directions shall be issued by the speaker within a week setting out a timeline to complete the proceedings. The solicitor general shall inform the court about the timeline being set for disposing of the proceedings,” the bench said.

The Uddhav Thackeray faction had moved the apex court in July seeking direction to the state assembly speaker to expeditiously adjudicate the disqualification petitions in a time-bound manner.

The plea by Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) MLA Sunil Prabhu, who as the chief whip of the undivided Shiv Sena had filed the disqualification petitions against Shinde and other MLAs in 2022, alleged Speaker Rahul Narwekar is deliberately delaying the adjudication despite the verdict of the apex court. 

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