Breaking: Supreme Court Refuses To Stay Maharashtra Floor Test, Permits Two Jailed MLAs To Vote
The Supreme Court has refused to stay the Maharashtra floor test that is to be held tomorrow as per the direction of the Governor.
"We have drafted a short order. We are not staying the floor test. We will issue notice and hear this matter along with the other case (regarding disqualification of MLAs). Tomorrow's proceedings will be subject to final outcome of the writ petitions", the Bench said.
The Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice J B Pardiwala allowed the application of jailed NCP MLAs Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik who are in judicial custody in ED case to vote in the floor test tomorrow.
The hearing that commenced at 5 pm today concluded at 8.30 pm. The Bench then rose to deliberate on the matter and reassembled at 9 pm to pronounce the order.
Senior Advocate A M Singhvi appearing for the Petitioner, Shiv Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu, primarily contended that since the hands of the Deputy-Speaker are tied on the question of the disqualification on account of the interim order of the Supreme Court, the floor test should only be held after that question is decided. He contended that earlier judgments of the Court will not apply to the case since in those cases the Court had not injected the speaker from deciding the question of disqualification. Unless that issue is decided the electoral college will not be final and the floor test held prior thereto cannot be reversed if the MLAs are found to be disqualified at a later point. He also stressed that the disqualification will relate back to the date of the action of MLAs that resulted in disqualification.
Senior Advocate Neeraj Kaul submitted that as per the earlier decisions of the Court, the question of disqualification and the holding of floor test operate in different spheres and one is not subject to the other. He said that the Deputy Speaker's actions were in the teeth of the Constitutional Bench decision of the Supreme Court.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari submitted that the petitioner has not made out any case for interference with the order to the Governor to hold floor test. He submitted that holding of floor test at the earliest is healthy for democracy. He said that it is not the Court that has interdicted the Deputy Speaker, but the law.
Senior Advocate Maninder Singh also made similar submissions.
Read full court room exchange here:
The petition by Sunil Prabhu was mentioned today morning by Dr. Singhvi and the Bench had agreed to hear the plea at 5 pm. Later in the day, the plea by jailed NCP MLAs Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik seeking direction to permit them to vote in the floor test tomorrow was mentioned and the Bench agreed to hear it along with Sunil Prabhu's plea.
Shiv Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu had challenged the Maharashtra Governor's direction to the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to hold a floor test in the Assembly on Thursday.
Earlier, the Apex Court on June 27 had kept in abeyance the disqualification proceedings against rebel Shiv Sena MLAs before the Deputy Speaker of the state Assembly till July 11, and also sought responses from the state government and others on their pleas questioning the legality of notices seeking their disqualification. The Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice J B Pardiwala had passed an order extending the time for filing replies to the disqualification notices issued by the Deputy Speaker to the rebel MLAs till 5.30 pm on July 12. The Deputy Speaker had given time only till 5.30 pm on Monday.