Maha CM Shinde’s MLAs can avoid disqualification by merging with another party, says SC

Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray faction told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that party MLAs loyal to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde can save themselves from disqualification under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution by merging with another political party. A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana asked the Shinde faction, represented in the court by senior advocate Harish Salve, to consider the legal issues of bifurcation, merger, defection and disqualification raised in the petitions filed by the Thackeray camp. Reframe the issues to be decided. After the recent political crisis in Maharashtra.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Thackeray faction, told the bench that there is no constitutional protection for disqualification under the Tenth Schedule. So, you have to either merge or form a new political party, Sibal told the bench, which also included Justices Krishna Murari and Hema Kohli.

Refuting the arguments, Harish Salve said that the anti-defection law is not a weapon for a leader who has lost the trust of his party to lock up his members and somehow hang them. Salve said that it is not the case that the MLAs voluntarily left the political party membership.

“The basic premise of the anti-defection law is that when you leave your political party. No one has been disqualified. Mr. Sibal has demolished a defense in detail, which no one has set up. Today, if the party There is a division within, and you are called for a party meeting, then you are not defying the whip in the House… It is not a case of defection. Today, it is a case of rebellion within the party and someone has Neither has given voluntary membership of the party,” said Salve.

The apex court asked Salve to reframe his submissions on the petitions filed by the rival Uddhav Thackeray group on constitutional issues arising out of the recent political crisis in the state. At the outset, Sibal, along with senior advocate AM Singhvi, submitted that the Shinde group violated the party’s chief whip by not attending the party meeting and was disqualified under the provisions of the 10th schedule.

“Two-thirds go to one side and one-third remains. So, two-thirds cannot say we are a real political party. The Shinde faction admitted to the Election Commission that there is a split,” Sibal said. , “Once you are elected, it doesn’t mean that the umbilical cord is cut off with the political party and you have nothing to do with it. The political party.”

Supporting Sibal’s objection, Singhvi said that the anti-divorce law was being replaced by its repeal. “The constitutional sin of defection is so grave that they (rebel MLAs) should not be recognized as the government. The majority itself becomes ipso facto (as an inevitable consequence of an act) the party to which the 10th Schedule The aim is to stop. The end does not justify the means.

“The evil and constitutional sin of defection is so great that it does not recognize the majority. Nothing but the claim that we are the majority. And it is all about the history of defection. Allowing the fruit of a poisonous tree to be delicious. Can’t be given,” said Singhvi.

Salve disputed the controversy. “In India we confuse political parties with some leaders. I belong to Shiv Sena. My chief minister refused to meet me. I am not discussing facts, I am presenting ideological facts. I am CM’s. Want change. It’s not anti-party, it’s intra-party,” said Salve.

After hearing the submissions, the bench said it would hear the matter on Thursday to decide on the issues to be decided by it, and asked Salve to reframe the questions of law. The bench will take up this as the first case on Thursday.

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