Sena MLAs’ disqualification row: SC grants Speaker final opportunity to set realistic time schedule for deciding pleas

The Supreme Court Tuesday granted Maharashtra assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar a final opportunity to give it a realistic time-frame for deciding the cross-petitions filed by the rival factions of the Shiv Sena seeking disqualification of each other’s MLAs following a split in the party.

The court said the disqualification petitions have to be adjudicated expeditiously.

A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud noted the submission of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that he will personally engage with the speaker during Dussehra vacation and indicate a firm set of modalities.

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“We are not satisfied with the time schedule. SG has apprised that during Dussehra breaks he would personally engage with the speaker so as to indicate a firm set of modalities,” the bench, also comprising Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, said while posting the matter for hearing on October 30.

The apex court had earlier come down hard on the speaker over the delay in deciding the pleas filed by the Uddhav Thackeray faction for disqualification of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and several MLAs loyal to him, saying the speaker cannot defeat the orders of the top court. Similar disqualification petitions have also been filed by the Shinde bloc against lawmakers owing allegiance to Thackeray.

On September 18, the top court had directed the speaker to spell out the timeline for adjudication of the petitions.

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