New Delhi | The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on October 30 pleas filed by the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena and the Sharad Pawar bloc of the NCP, seeking a direction to the Maharashtra assembly speaker to expeditiously decide disqualification petitions against some MLAs.
A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud is scheduled to take up two separate pleas filed by both the factions.
The Supreme Court is set to reopen after a week-long Dussehra holiday.
On October 17, the top court granted assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar a final opportunity to give it a realistic time-frame for deciding the cross-petitions filed by the rival factions of the Shiv Sena seeking disqualification of each other's MLAs following a split in the party.
"The narration of facts indicates that the first batch of petitions is pending since June and July 2022. The judgment of the Constitution Bench was delivered on May 11, 2023. The disqualification petitions have to be adjudicated upon with all expeditions. Otherwise very purpose of the tenth schedule shall stand defeated," the bench had said in its order.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the time schedule given by the Speaker, the top court had said, "The time schedule as proposed will not result in a foreseeable conclusion of the disqualification petitions at a reasonably early date." It had noted in its order a statement of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that during the course of the Dussehra break, he will personally engage with the Speaker, so as to indicate a firm set of modalities to ensure the early conclusion of the hearing of the disqualification petitions.
"Before this court issues peremptory directions for compliance with a time schedule for disposal, we grant a final opportunity to prescribe a realistic time schedule for the disposal of the disqualification petitions, particularly, in view of the assurance which has been given to the court by the Solicitor General," the top court had said.
The apex court had earlier come down hard on the speaker over the delay in deciding the pleas filed by the Uddhav Thackeray faction for disqualification of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and several MLAs loyal to him, saying the speaker cannot defeat the orders of the top court. Similar disqualification petitions have also been filed by the Shinde bloc against lawmakers owing allegiance to Thackeray.
Earlier on September 18, the bench had directed the speaker to spell out the time table for adjudication of the disqualification petitions against Shinde and Shiv Sena MLAs owing allegiance to him who had tied up with the BJP to form a new government in June 2022.
The court had asked the solicitor general to apprise the bench of the time schedule to be fixed by the speaker for deciding the pleas for disqualification of 56 MLAs including lawmakers belonging to the Shinde faction.
The Thackeray faction had moved the apex court in July seeking direction to the state assembly speaker to expeditiously adjudicate the disqualification petitions in a time-bound manner.
The plea by Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) MLA Sunil Prabhu, who as the chief whip of the undivided Shiv Sena had filed the disqualification petitions against Shinde and other MLAs in 2022, alleged Speaker Rahul Narwekar is deliberately delaying the adjudication despite the verdict of the apex court.
Later, a separate plea was filed by the Sharad Pawar faction of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) for a direction to the assembly speaker to expeditiously decide the disqualification petitions against deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and party MLAs loyal to him.