SC counters Uddhav camp, says dy speaker to blame
NEW DELHI: The Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena faction’s reiteration that the Supreme Court’s June 27, 2022 order giving more time to Eknath Shinde-led rebel MLAs emboldened them to topple of the MVA government with unconstitutional help from the governor drew a sharp response on Wednesday from the Constitution bench, which blamed it on the then deputy speaker’s unreasonable action.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal said that if the court had on June 27 not given the rebel MLAs, sitting in Guwahati, time till July 12 to respond to the disqualification petitions, they all would have been disqualified and the MVA government would have continued. As these rebel MLAs clearly defied the party whip, they were per se (ex facie) disqualified, hence, there was no need of any more evidence, he said. “The governor, despite knowing that Shinde faced per se disqualification under anti-defection law, did an unconstitutional act of inviting him to form government,” he said.
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The bench of CJI D Y Chandrachud and Justices M R Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and P S Narasimha said, “The SC may not have intervened on June 27 had the deputy speaker not given an unreasonable two days’ time for them to respond to the disqualification petitions as against the norm of 7 days. In any case, it is the Speaker who should be deciding the disqualification and not the courts. ”
The bench said, “You have made a significant point about constitutional democracy and the supremacy of a political party over its members in the House. But if the courts start deciding disqualification of MLAs at the first instance, instead of the Speaker, it would have very serious ramifications. This is true even for a case where an MLA is per se disqualified un-der the Tenth Schedule. This proposition is very disquieting for us. Right or wrong, there is a system in place assigning the Speaker the task of adjudicating the disqualification petitions. Can the courts breach the established constitutional system?”
Arguments will continue on Thursday.