Supreme Court dismisses plea against Sena-NCP-Congress alliance
The Supreme Court observed on Friday that there can be no restrictions on alliances between political parties in a democracy as it dismissed a petition by the Hindu Mahasabha challenging the post-poll alliance in Maharashtra between the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress.
The petition was dismissed a day after Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray became chief minister of Maharashtra with support from the NCP and the Congress, ending over a month of political uncertainty in the state where assembly elections on October 21 produced a hung house in which no single party had a majority on its own.
As soon as the hearing on the petition commenced in court 2 of the Supreme Court, the bench of justices NV Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna made it clear that it was not inclined to entertain the case filed by Pramod Pandit Joshi, a spokesperson of the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha.
Justice Bhushan asked: “Why should we get into all this pre-poll, post-poll?”
The petitioner tried to make out his case by arguing that the post-poll alliance in Maharashtra was between parties that fought the elections against each other in opposing pre-poll alliances. He submitted that people of the state had voted based on the manifesto presented by the pre-poll alliance between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena.
The bench was not impressed. The judges said the court cannot issue directions to political parties to implement what is stated in their election manifestos.
“Political parties say a lot of things in their manifesto. Can we [the court] issue directions to implement what they have said in the manifesto?. If your argument is accepted, there is no need for democracy. Constitutional morality is different from political morality,” justice Ramana said, observing that it was for the people to judge, not the courts.
The bench dismissed the petition, observing that it cannot adjudicate issues that are outside its jurisdiction.
The BJP and Shiv Sena fought the assembly elections in an alliance against the NCP and Congress, but post-poll differences over government formation forced them apart. The BJP, which emerged as the single largest party in the 288-member assembly, refused to concede the Sena’s demand for an equal share of power, including rotational chief ministership, forcing the latter to join forces with the NCP and Congress .
The BJP won 105 seats, the Sena 56, the NCP 54 and the Congress 44 in last month’s elections, with 29 seats going to smaller parties and independents.
The BJP formed a short-lived government with support from a splinter faction of the NCP, but chief minister Devendra Fadnavis resigned after the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a floor test to be held on Wednesday to demonstrate his majority.
Shiv Sena leader Thackeray, who took the oath in a swearing-in ceremony on Thursday along with six ministers — two from each party — will face a floor test in the assembly on Saturday.