Rebel legislators to move court if deputy speaker doesn’t recognise them
The battle for power in Maharashtra reached the state legislature on Friday
The battle for power in Maharashtra reached the state legislature on Friday.
Reacting to Shiv Sena’s disqualification motion against 16 rebel legislators, the Eknath Shinde faction has challenged deputy speaker Narhari Zirwal to take any action on the motion.
Two Independent MLAs - Mahesh Baldi and Vinod Aggarwal - who are seen close to the Bharatiya Janata Party, filed a notice to Zirwal on Friday, reminding him that a no-confidence notice against him was still pending and as such he had no locus standi to take action on the disqualification motion.
The Shinde camp, in a pre-emptive move, on June 22 filed a notice of removal under Article 179 of the Constitution and rule 11 of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Rules against Zirwal.
Sena moved the disqualification notice against 12 rebel MLAs, including their leader Shinde, late on Thursday evening, and added another four names to the list on Friday.
So far, Zirwal has not taken any action on the disqualification motion. He will have to issue show cause notices to these legislators as part of the process.
Baldi and Agarwal in their notice cited a Supreme Court verdict in 2016 pertaining to the Arunachal Pradesh legislative assembly, which states it is “constitutionally impermissible for a speaker to adjudicate upon a disqualification petition under the Schedule 10, while a notice of resolution for his own removal from the office of speaker is pending”.
The notice also reminded the deputy speaker that Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Rules mandate that members should get seven days to respond to a disqualification petition against them. The Independents further said that they felt this period would be given the go-by in the current scenario. A copy of the notice was also submitted to the Governor.
“If we do not get justice from Zirwal as a constitutional authority then we will have to move court against the disqualification notice against our legislators. We have a clear two-thirds majority and we have submitted a letter electing Shinde as the party leader and Bharat Gogawale as the party whip with support of our 37 legislators. The law is clear that legislators elect their legislative party leader and majority has elected Shinde,’’ rebel Sena MLA Deepak Kesarkar said.
Kesarkar also said that the Shinde faction would move a no-confidence motion against the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi before the Governor once they get recognition as the legitimate party unit.
That recognition as the real Sena, however, may become a sore point for the rebels. One of the dominant legal interpretations of the Schedule 10 of the Constitution that deals with anti-defection law is that when such a split happens, the two-thirds majority cannot form a separate group but has to be merged with an existing political party.
“The rebel faction will have to be merged with another party; they cannot get recognition as Sena and they cannot form a separate unit,’’ Sena leader Neelam Gorhe said.
Gorhe taunted the rebel faction saying they would have to merge with Prahar, one of the smaller political parties in the state, which is currently siding with them.