MLAs disqualification case: Bombay HC notices to assembly speaker, Sharad faction | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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MLAs disqualification case: Bombay HC notices to assembly speaker, Sharad faction

BySahyaja MS
Feb 21, 2024 04:37 PM IST

Moving the plea, the chief whip of the Ajit-led faction, Anil Patil, argued that the speaker’s decision was “unjust, especially after recognising the Ajit-led faction as the legitimate NCP”

Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Wednesday issued notices to the MLAs belonging to the the National Congress Party (NCP)– Sharad Pawar faction and Maharashtra assembly speaker Rahul Narwekar on petitions challenging the latter’s recent decision rejecting the disqualification of the MLAs.

Maharashtra deputy chief minister and NCP chief Ajit Pawar (File Photo)
Maharashtra deputy chief minister and NCP chief Ajit Pawar (File Photo)

Deputy chief minister Ajit-led faction moved the court on Tuesday after Narwekar dismissed their petitions seeking disqualification of 10 MLAs from the Sharad faction from the assembly. The speaker had rejected similar petitions from both factions on February 15.

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A bench of justices Girish Kulkarni and Firdosh Pooniwalla issued notices to the Maharashtra legislature secretariat and also instructed all respondents to file their affidavits if they desired.

Moving the plea, the chief whip of the Ajit-led faction, Anil Patil, argued that the speaker’s decision was “unjust, especially after recognising the Ajit-led faction as the legitimate NCP”.

Patil asserted that the speaker incorrectly deemed the party split as intra-party dissent and argued that once the speaker recognised the Ajit-led faction as the “real political party,” the disqualification petitions should have been upheld.

Patil in his petitions requested the high court to quash the speaker’s recent order by declaring it “bad in law, and also disqualify all the 10 legislators”.

The petitions challenged the “legality, propriety and correctness” of the order passed by Narwekar.

Also Read: Maharashtra assembly speaker declares Ajit Pawar faction as ‘real NCP’

During the hearing, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the Ajit-led faction, argued that despite the speaker’s findings favouring Ajit’s leadership in the NCP, the failure to disqualify 10 MLAs from Sharad-led faction was a glaring inconsistency.

Rohatgi emphasised that these MLAs’ actions ran counter to the party’s interests and should have led to their disqualification.

He argued against the speaker’s characterisation of the situation as an internal party matter, asserting that it was more than just a dispute within the NCP.

Rohatgi highlighted instances where the actions of these MLAs were deemed detrimental despite the speaker affirming Ajit’s leadership as legitimate. He underscored the necessity for clarity in allegiance to the NCP, implying that those not aligning should face consequences, despite the speaker’s ruling.

The bench, after hearing the arguments, said it would issue notices to the respondents and direct them to file affidavits and hear the matter further and posted the matter for further hearing on March 14.

The NCP witnessed a split in July last year when Ajit along with eight party lawmakers joined chief minister Eknath Shinde-led government. The dispute over party ownership and the disqualification of MLAs ensued, with the factions contesting each other’s legitimacy.

On February 6 this year, the election commission ruled in favour of the Ajit-led faction, declaring them as the real NCP and permitting them to use the ‘clock’ symbol for the party.

On February 15, in another setback to Sharad and his NCP faction, Maharashtra assembly speaker Rahul Narwekar declared the Ajit-led faction as the ‘real’ NCP.

The speaker had also dismissed disqualification petitions filed against MLAs by both NCP factions, saying they do not fall under the jurisdiction of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution, which deals with the defection of elected representatives—MLAs and MPs.

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