Time-line in joint petition to Supreme Court indicts Maharashtra Governor Koshiyari

The petition filed by Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress challenging the Governor’s action in Maharashtra, provides a time-line that questions the conduct of the President, the PM and MHA besides Governor

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari

NH Web Desk

The petition, filed by the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress jointly to the Supreme Court, claims that they have the support of 165 MLAs in the 288-member House. The Governor, the petition says, erred in not verifying the claims before administering the oath of office to Fadnavis and Pawar. It also seeks a court direction for a floor test within 24 hours and not seven days that the Governor specified on Saturday.

The petition also points out that in May, 2018 the Supreme Court had ordered a floor test in Karnataka within 24 hours.

The issues before the Supreme Court are:

  • Did the Governor apply his mind and verify the claim before swearing in Devendra Fadnavis ?
  • How and when did the BJP stake its claim ?
  • How did the Governor ascertain the claim of majority support without letters of support from individual MLAs or the physical presence of them in the Raj Bhavan ?
  • Was there an emergency that the Presidential proclamation had to be revoked at 5.47 am without a cabinet meeting and relying on the Prime Minister’s discretion alone?

The 18-page petition also provides a time-line of the developments in Maharashtra:

  • While the election in Maharashtra was carried out by October 21, 2019 and results declared on October 24, the Governor took no action for 18 days.
  • On November 9, the Governor invited the BJP to show its willingness to form the government within 48 hours.
  • On November 10, BJP declined
  • On the same day the Governor invited the Shiv Sena and gave it 24 hours to show its willingness and ability to form the Government.
  • On November 11, the Shiv Sena staked its claim and declared it had support of 162 MLAs including 8 Independents. It sought three days to produce individual letters of support.
  • The Governor rejected the claim of SS, refused to grant three days and invited the NCP to show its willingness and ability to form the Government within 24 hours, by 9.30 pm on November 12
  • On November 11 itself, Shiv Sena minister in the Union cabinet Arvind Sawant resigned.
  • On November 12 Shiv Sena filed a write petition challenging the Governor’s action.
  • But without waiting for his own deadline to NCP to expire, the Governor at 3.16 pm on November 12, recommended imposition of President’s Rule in the state.

The petition says that over the next 10 days, the three parties, Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress held extensive consultations, finalized a Common Minimum Programme and at 7 pm on November 22, Shri Sharad Pawar declared that they had formed the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi, had the support of 166 MLAs and that Uddhav Thackeray of the Shiv Sena would be their chief minister for the full five year term.

The same night the Governor, the petition says, cancelled his travel plans to Delhi to take part in the Governors’ Conclave at Rashtrapati Bhavan and stayed back in Mumbai.

While it is not known when the Governor sent in his report to the Centre, early on Saturday at 5.47 am the President revoked his earlier proclamation and within two and a half hours, the Governor appointed Devendra Fadnavis the chief minister and administered the oath of office to him.

What was the hurry ? How did the BJP stake its claim ? How did the Governor satisfy himself that Fadnavis had majority support and wasn’t he duty-bound to take his time and examine the claims ?

Over to the Supreme Court.

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