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Supreme Court orders Maha Speaker to decide disqualification against Eknath Shinde, others by Dec 31

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      Oct 31, 2023      0 Comments
Supreme Court orders Maha Speaker to decide disqualification against Eknath Shinde others by Dec

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar to decide disqualification petitions against Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and others and pass final orders before December 31, 2023, saying the procedural wranglings should not be permitted to delay the proceedings under the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection law).

A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra also put a deadline of January 31, 2024 for deciding the pending disqualification petitions related to rebel Nationalist Congress Party MLAs, including Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and eight others.

The court passed its orders on petitions filed by the Uddhav Thackeray's Shiv Sena and Sharad Pawar led NCP questioning inordinate delay in deciding the disqualification petitions.

The bench refused to grant more time to the Speaker, who cited ensuing Diwali vacations and Winter sessions of the Assembly in the matter.

On October 17, the court had asked the Speaker to fix a "realistic" time schedule to decide multiple disqualification petitions.

After hearing counsel for Shiv Sena UBT's Sunil Prabhu and NCP's Jayant Patil against the delay, the bench said, "We have repeatedly granted time to Speaker to complete proceedings under the Tenth Schedule, now an affidavit has been filed by the Maharashtra legislative secretariat. It says there are two groups of disqualification petitions - one of shiv sena and one of NCP. The affidavit says the secretariat will be closed during Diwali vacations and the winter session of assembly will be in Nagpur. We are of the view that procedural wranglings cannot lead to delay in decision of disqualification petitions."

The bench also referred to the Constitution bench judgment, which was delivered in May 2023, telling the Speaker to decide the matter within a reasonable time.

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