The Supreme Court on Monday orally said that the Maharashtra Speaker has to decide the disqualification petitions pending against Shiv Sena-led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and that the Speaker cannot delay it. The SC has asked the Speaker to list before him for hearing the disqualification petitions within a week and set down a time schedule to decide disqualification pleas.
A bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Misra said that four months have passed since the May 11 order and the Speaker has not taken any steps to decide.
The CJI said that the matter will be listed for hearing after two weeks. “Tell us the status of how long will this take then… the proceedings cannot go on indefinitely,” the bench said.
Last week, Maharashtra Speaker Rahul Narwekar began hearing the disqualification petitions of two rival Shiv Sena factions led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his predecessor Uddhav Thackeray.
A total of 34 pleas are being heard and both factions are being represented by their respective lawyers. The lawyer of Shinde’s Shiv Sena Anil Sakhre had alleged that his team did not get relevant documents from the opposite side.
The speaker had issued notices to a total of 54 MLAs, including 40 MLAs from Shiv Sena and 14 from Uddhav’s faction, seeking their responses on disqualification petitions against them. However, notice was not issued against Rutuja Latke, Sena (UBT) MLA, who was elected after the Shiv Sena split last year.
In his capacity as chief whip of the undivided Shiv Sena, Prabhu had filed the disqualification pleas against Eknath Shinde and other fifteen MLAs last year after they rebelled and joined hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party to form a new government in Maharashtra in June 2022.