NEW DELHI: Uddhav Thackeray-led 14 MLAs jointly filed a petition in the Supreme Court on Sunday challenging disqualification proceedings initiated against them by Maharashtra Assembly Speaker less than a month after now CM Eknath Shinde-led rebel Sena MLAs had sought similar relief from the SC.
With the rebels turning the tables on Thackeray and reducing the MVA coalition government to a minority, the Shinde-led Sena-BJP coalition copied the political moves of the earlier dispensation and issued disqualification notices under the Tenth Schedule to 14 Sena MLAs for defying whip to vote for the Sena-BJP government during the trust motion.
On June 26, Shinde and 16 of 39 rebel MLAs had challenged the then deputy Speaker’s disqualification notices on the petition filed by then Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu. On Sunday, Prabhu led the 14 MLAs in filing the writ petition challenging the disqualification notices sent to them by the Speaker on petitions filed by present chief whip Bharat Gogawale.
The 14 MLAs through advocate Javedur Rahman, said “disqualification proceedings under the Tenth Schedule, initiated by Gogawale who illegally claims to be the Chief Whip of the Shiv Sena Legislature Party, and the Speaker has illegally and arbitrarily acted upon it and issued summons.”
Prabhu and 13 other MLAs in their petition said that
continues to be the leader of Sena which has not split and hence, the rebels should face disqualification under Tenth Schedule for violating the whip issued by the party several times.
They said this position was conveyed to the Speaker on July 7. But, the Speaker brushing aside the fact situation and displaying bias and favouritism towards Gogawale, despite the latter having already incurred disqualification from the membership of the House disentitling him from filing a disqualification petition, has proceeded to entertain the same and issue summons, they alleged.
The rebel Sena MLAs had taken shelter behind the SC’s Nabam Rebia judgment that barred a Speaker from taking up disqualification proceedings against legislators if there is pending removal motion against the Speaker. The rebels, while challenging the disqualification notices, had simultaneously moved a removal motion against the then deputy Speaker.
Now, the Thackeray faction MLAs too took the same step and moved a removal motion against the present Speaker. They said, “notices for the removal of the Speaker under Article 179(c) are presently pending consideration, and during the pendency of such notices, the Speaker cannot proceed with disqualification petitions under the Tenth Schedule in terms of the judgment of a Constitution Bench of the SC in the case of Nabam Rebia.”