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Maharashtra political crisis: CJI NV Ramana says 'a larger bench can hear the case', next SC hearing on August 1

Maharashtra political crisis: The CJI NV Ramana-led bench directed Maharashtra Assembly Speaker to maintain the status quo and not decide on any disqualification applications. The CJI also directed Legislative Assembly secretary to keep all records in safe custody. 

  • The SC today hears the plea of the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena challenging disqualification proceedings initiated against them
  • The top court said that the issues in petitions may require reference to a 5-judge bench and posted the case for hearing on August 1
  • The apex court granted time to Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde-led camp to file an affidavit on the pleas filed by Thackeray-led faction

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Maharashtra political crisis: CJI NV Ramana says 'a larger bench can hear the case', next SC hearing on August 1

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday (July 20) commenced a hearing on the plea of the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena challenging disqualification proceedings initiated against them under the constitutional scheme. The top court said that the issues in petitions may require reference to a 5-judge bench and posted the case for hearing on August 1. It also granted time to Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde-led camp to file an affidavit on the pleas filed by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray-led faction, said an ANI report.

The CJI-led bench reportedly directed Maharashtra Assembly Speaker to maintain the status quo and not decide on any disqualification applications, adding that the Legislative Assembly secretary to keep all records in safe custody. CJI NV Ramana said that "some of the issues, I strongly feel, may require a larger bench. A larger bench can hear the case."

Appearing for the Uddhav faction, senior advocate Kapil Sibal told a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana that Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari should not have sworn in the new government when the apex court was seized of the matter.

On July 11, the CJI-led bench granted interim relief to the Uddhav Thackeray faction MLAs. It had directed the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker, Rahul Narwekar, not to proceed with the plea seeking their disqualification as sought by the Shinde group on the grounds of defying the party whip during the trust vote and the election of the speaker.

Also Read: Sharad Pawar 'breaking' Shiv Sena, alleges ex-Maharashtra minister Ram Kadam; NCP reacts

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal for Shiv Sena's Uddhav Thackeray camp told the SC bench also comprising Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli, "Speaker recognising a whip other than the official whip nominated by the party is malafide."

Also Read: Rahul Shewale recognised as Shiv Sena floor leader; Uddhav loses support of 12 MPs

Sibal further told the top court that every elected govt in this country can be toppled if this case can be accepted, adding "Democracy is in danger if the state govts can be toppled despite the bar under the 10th schedule."

Senior lawyer Harish Salve, appearing for CM Eknath Shinde, told the SC, "If leader gathers strength within party and stays in it to question the leader without leaving, it is not defection," adding "If a large number of people in the party feel that another man should lead, what is wrong in that."

(With ANI/PTI Inputs)

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