Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, while opposing the petitions filed by the Uddhav Thackeray faction in the Supreme Court, said the petitions clearly demonstrate that the issues being agitated before the top court have become infructuous by the resignation of the then CM and are devoid of any merit and should be dismissed with costs.
Shinde said that accepting the argument of Uddhav Thackeray’s faction would result in: “A minority tyranny within the House; anti-democratic and minority Government to continue illegally in office; a Chief Minister, who has lost the confidence of his own party to continue in the office”.
The petition, filed through advocate Abhikalp Pratap Singh, said petitions filed by Uddhav Thackeray’s faction clearly demonstrate that the issues being agitated before the top court have become infructuous by the resignation of the then CM.
On the aspect of actions of the Governor, Shinde’s plea said Article 164 of the Constitution gives sole discretionary powers to the Governor to appoint the CM.
“The immunity of the Governor is absolute and beyond the writ jurisdiction of this court. Therefore, the appointment of the Chief Minister by the Governor cannot be questioned before this court through a petition under Article 32… This power, is subject to the Chief Minister proving his majority on the floor of the House, which admittedly the respondent No. 4 has already proved through a completely valid floor test,” said Shinde’s common counter-affidavit to the petitions filed by Subhash Desai and Sunil Prabhu, the general secretary and the chief whip of the Shiv Sena appointed by Uddhav Thackeray.
Shinde’s plea contended that in essence, the only effective relief that is being sought by the Uddhav Thackeray’s faction is the restitution of the status quo ante as of June 27, however, this relief cannot be granted and ought to be refused, at the outset, in light of the voluntary resignation by the then CM on the night of June 29. “The Answering Respondent submits that the appointment of a Chief Minister by the Governor, who subsequently proved his majority through a completely valid floor test on the floor of the House, cannot be called into question before any Court,” added the plea.
It added, “In a parliamentary form of democracy, the underlying basis for testing the validity/invalidity of any action is numbers. A group of 15, cannot call a group of 39 rebels/delinquents. It is in fact the other way around.”
A bench comprising Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli will hear the petitions on August 3.
Uddhav Thackeray’s faction filed the petitions challenging the decision of the Governor to swear-in Eknath Shinde as the CM, the election of Rahul Narvekar as the Speaker, the recognition of Bharat Gogawale (appointed by the Shinde group as the chief whip of Shiv Sena) and against the disqualification proceedings initiated by the newly elected Speaker against the MLAs of Uddhav group for voting in alleged violation of the whip.