NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday decided to examine a plea by Sharad Pawar faction of the Nationalist Congress Party against delay in deciding their disqualification plea against Ajit Pawar and seven other MLAs under the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection law).
A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra scheduled the petition filed by NCP leader Jayant Patil, for consideration on Friday, October 13.
The bench had earlier fixed October 13 as the date for taking up a similar plea by Uddhav Thackeray's faction of Shiv Sena against the delay in deciding the disqualification petitions filed against Maharashtra's current Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and other MLAs.
"We had earlier asked the Speaker to fix a schedule. We will list the petition by Shiv Sena and this one together," the bench said.
On behalf of Ajit Pawar faction, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi contended facts in both the cases were different. He said the instant matter is different. The petition for disqualification was filed only in September and soon after, they filed a petition in this court, he said.
Appearing for Patil, senior advocate Kapil Sibal submitted the petition was filed in July and even the notice was not issued by the Speaker.
In July, this year, in a sudden and surprise turn of events, Ajit Pawar along with other nine NCP MLAs joined the Shinde government in Maharashtra.
Pawar, who was the Leader of Opposition in Assembly, was appointed deputy Chief Minister. He was declared as leader of the legislative party of the NCP.
On September 18, the top court had fast-tracked the hearing on the disqualification petitions against Shinde and other Shiv Sena MLAs and asked the Speaker to list the matter before him within a week and fix a time schedule to decide disqualification pleas.
The bench had then said that the Speaker has to abide by the dignity of the Supreme Court and four months have passed since its judgement in May, where the court asked the Speaker, Rahul Narwekar, to decide the fate of 16 Shiv Sena MLAs, including Shinde, who were accused of anti-party activities.
On July 14, the Supreme Court issued notice to the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker on a fresh petition by Shiv Sena (UBT) MLA Sunil Prabhu seeking a direction to expedite decision on the disqualification petitions against Shinde and others.