Amid the political crisis in Maharashtra triggered by a rebellion by a large section of Shiv Sena MLAs, who are currently camping in Assam, Eknath Shinde has approached the Supreme Court against the disqualification notices issued by the Deputy Speaker against rebel MLAs. Two petitions have been filed, one by Shinde and the other by rebel MLAs, challenging the disqualification notice issued by the Deputy Speaker and the appointment of Ajay Chaudhary as leader of the legislative party.
The Supreme Court on Monday will hear the plea of Maharashtra Shiv Sena MLA and minister Eknath Shinde against the disqualification notice issued by the Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal against him and 15 other rebel legislators.
A vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala will hear the cases which are listed as items number 34 and 35.
The matters are likely to come up for hearing around 12.30 pm.
They called the action to issue disqualification notices to them on June 21 as "illegal and unconstitutional" and sought a stay on it.
They sought directions to the Deputy Speaker to not take any action in the disqualification petition against them.
The Shinde camp claimed the move was illegal since disqualification can happen only for matters in the assembly and not for skipping a party meeting.
The Eknath Shinde camp has also challenged the appointment of Ajay Choudhary as the Shiv Sena Legislature Party leader by the Thackeray camp.
They have also asked the court to direct the Maharashtra government to provide security to their families.
Shinde, along with a sizable number of Shiv Sena MLAs is camping in a hotel in Assam's capital Guwahati as they rebelled against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government ruling Maharashtra.
Shinde in his plea stated that the Deputy Speaker has lost his position as the MVA government has been reduced to a minority and in such a situation, he has no authority to invoke provisions of the Members of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on Ground of Defection) Rules, 1986, and send notices to him and 15 other MLAs, which form part of the breakaway group of 38 Sena legislators.
Shinde in his petition said, "It is common knowledge that the current government in Maharashtra, led by the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance, has lost the majority in the House as 38 of the members of the Shiv Sena Legislature Party have withdrawn their support thus bringing it below the majority in the House. However, the MVA government continues to misuse the office of the deputy speaker to ensure that they remain in power by whatever means."
The plea said that the disqualification notices are classic examples of the Deputy Speaker acting hand-in-glove with the MVA government in an attempt to hastily disqualify Shinde along with his supporters, bypassing all cannons of law.
Maharashtra has no Speaker since Nana Patole resigned in February 2021 to take over as Congress chief. Deputy Speaker Zirwal belongs to NCP.
The 15 petitioners are - Bharat Gogawale, Prakash R Surve, Tanhaji Jaywant Savant, Mahesh S Shinde, Abdul Sattar, Sandeepan A Bhumre, Sanjay P Sirhsat, Yamini Y Jadhav, Anil K Babar, Latabai C Sonawane, Ramesh N Bornare, Sanjay B Raimulkar, Chimanrao R Patil, Balaji D Kalyankar and Balaji P Kinilkar.