Supreme Court Issues Notices to Maharashtra CM Shinde and MLAs in Shiv Sena Faction Dispute

Legal Battle Unfolds as Thackeray Faction Challenges Speaker's Order, Alleges Unconstitutional Usurpation of Power.

The Supreme Court has taken a significant step by issuing notices to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and several other MLAs in response to a plea from the Uddhav Thackeray faction. The plea challenges the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar’s order, which declared the Shiv Sena bloc led by Shinde as the “real political party” following its split in June 2022.

A bench, comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, acknowledged the submissions of senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi, who represented the Thackeray faction. The court has requested a response from the chief minister and other MLAs within two weeks. While suggesting that the matter could be heard by the Bombay High Court, the Supreme Court was met with opposition from senior lawyers representing the Thackeray faction. They argued that the top court is better equipped to handle the case.

The Thackeray faction alleges that Shinde has “unconstitutionally usurped power” and is leading an “unconstitutional government.” Speaker Narwekar’s order on January 10 also dismissed the Thackeray faction’s plea to disqualify 16 MLAs from the ruling camp, including Shinde.

In challenging the Speaker’s orders, the Thackeray faction contends that they are “patently unlawful and perverse.” They argue that instead of penalizing the act of defection, the orders reward the defectors by recognizing them as comprising the political party. The legal battle between the Thackeray faction and the Shinde-led Shiv Sena bloc is poised to unfold in the coming weeks, with the Supreme Court now actively involved in examining the constitutional and legal dimensions of the dispute.

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