Sena vs Sena: Maharashtra Guv did not act in accordance with law, but can’t restore Thackeray govt, says SC

A constitution bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud pronounced judgment on the disqualification plea of 16 MLAs including CM Eknath Shinde

Uddhav Thackeray (left); Eknath Shinde (right) (Photos: Getty Images)
Uddhav Thackeray (left); Eknath Shinde (right) (Photos: Getty Images)

NH Political Bureau

The Supreme Court has said that it cannot order the restoration of the Uddhav Thackeray government as he resigned without facing a floor test. However, the court has acknowledged that the Governor's decision for the floor test was wrong and the Speaker was wrong in appointing the Eknath Shinde group.

The court was dealing with the issue of disqualification of 16 MLAs belonging to CM Shinde’s Sena. Shinde and 15 other MLAs were sent disqualification notices for not attending then-CM Uddhav Thackeray's party meeting despite the whip issued. In July, when Shinde sought a trust vote on the floor of the state legislative assembly, the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena got the support of 164 out of a total of 288 MLAs and became the chief minister.

"The Governor had no objective material to call for a Floor test in the Assembly; it cannot be used as a medium to resolve inter or intra-party dispute," the court said.

"The Governor had no objective material to doubt the confidence of the Uddhav Thackeray-led government and call for a Floor test. The resolution relied on by the government did not indicate that MLAs wanted to withdraw support. Even if it is assumed that the MLAs wanted to exit the government, they constituted only a faction," the court added.

A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, comprising CJI Chandrachud and Justices M R Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli, and P S Narasimha, had on March 16 concluded hearing and reserved its verdict on a batch of pleas filed by both Sena groups.

The Thackeray faction had pleaded before the apex court to set aside the then-Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari’s order to Thackeray to take a floor test. The Sinde faction had challenged the disqualification notices served to Shinde and 15 MLAs supporting him.

After the Supreme Court refused to stay the floor test, Thackeray had resigned on June 29.

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