We have not shut our eyes: SC on Shiv Sena plea seeking suspension of rebel MLAs

Supreme Court of India.
Supreme Court of India. File/ GK

New Delhi, July 1: The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear Shiv Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu’s plea seeking suspension of 16 MLAs, including Eknath Shinde, from the Maharashtra Assembly till the disqualification proceedings initiated against them are decided and also a direction to restrain delinquent MLAs from entering the Assembly.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Prabhu, mentioned the matter before a vacation bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and J.B. Pardiwala.

Sibal submitted that there was no merger of the Shinde faction with the BJP and the moment Eknath Shinde was sworn in, he violated the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection law) of the Constitution.

Sibal said: “He is not the party....It is not a dance of democracy.”

Justice Kant said: “We have not shut our eyes...we will examine.”

The bench agreed to take up the matter on July 11 along with the Shinde faction petitions challenging the disqualification proceedings against them.

Sibal contended that whose whip will count? Both will elect their own whips. “Who is the real Shiv Sena can be decided by the Election Commission. If so, how votes would be counted during trust vote,” submitted Sibal. The bench said, “Let us see what is the procedure...if it is defective. We will examine.”

The bench told Sibal that it will take up the matter on July 11. “We will look into this,” said the bench.

Prabhu’s plea said the delinquent MLAs, who have been acting as pawns of the BJP, thereby committing the constitutional sin of defection, ought not to be allowed to perpetuate their sin even for a single day by permitting them to continue as members of the Assembly.

“Though this court may have injuncted the Deputy Speaker from proceeding with the disqualification petitions since his jurisdiction has been questioned, that in no way means that the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution would become a dead letter,” said the plea.

It added that the rebel MLAs have committed the constitutional sin of defection under Para-2(1)(a) of the Tenth Schedule.

The plea urged the top court to pass an interim order suspending the delinquent MLAs, against whom disqualification petitions have been filed by the Applicant herein, from the membership of the 14th Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, till the final adjudication of the Tenth Schedule proceedings initiated against them. It further added, “Restrain the delinquent MLAs, against whom disqualification petitions have been filed by the Applicant herein, from entering the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly or participating in any proceeding relating to the House till the final adjudication of the disqualification proceedings against them.”

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