Supreme Court: The Constitution bench of Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud, CJ., and M.R. Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and P.S. Narasimha JJ., orally observed that the two nemesis of the Shiv Sena Faction in Maharashtra staking claim to power have posed a tough constitutional question which has serious ramification for the polity, as it weighed the options of referring 5-judge bench 2016 decision of Nabam Rebia and Bamang Felix v. Deputy Speaker, Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly, (2016) 8 SCC 1 (‘Nabam Rabia’) to a larger 7-judge bench.
The court while considering the plea posed by Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appearing on behalf of Uddhav Thackeray faction seeking reference of the Nabam Rabia judgment reserved its order dated 16-02-2023.
“Arguments addressed only on the question of Nabam Rebia being referred to a larger bench. Orders reserved,” the Court recorded after third consecutive day of arguments.
Posing strong objection to the plea, the rival faction led by the present Chief Minister Eknath Shinde submitted that such a reference was not necessary as it was purely ‘academic’ as 16 Member of Legislative Assemblies never got to vote as Uddhav Thackeray resigned a day before the proposed floor test that was ordered on June 30 by the then Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
Senior advocate Harish Salve appearing on behalf of Eknath Shinde stated that Anti-defection law was not a weapon for a leader who had lost faith of his members to hang on to power. He had also stated that the Nabam Rebia verdict did not apply in the present case.
The bench observed that the Nabam Rebia judgment may require some ‘tightening’ as to when a Speaker will not be allowed to take a call on disqualification pleas.
[Subhash Desai v. Governor of Maharashtra, Civil Writ Petition No. 493 of 2022, matter reserved on 16-02-2023]
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*Simran Singh, Editorial Assistant summated the data.