Should Supreme Court Have Relook At Nabam Rebia Judgment? Harish Salve Answers With A Story
Yesterday, it was argued before the Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud that the 2016 Constitution Bench's decision in the matter of Nabam Rebia & Anr. v. Deputy Speaker & Ors. should be doubted and referred to a seven-judge bench to reconsider.
The argument was advanced by Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal and others on behalf of the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena.
Today, starting the arguments on behalf of the Eknath Shinde faction, Senior Advocate Harish Salve argued that the present case is not a fit case to reconsider the judgment in Nabam Rebia's case. It was held in Nabam Rebia's case that a Speaker cannot initiate disqualification proceedings against members when a resolution seeking his removal is pending.
Salve argued before the Bench also comprising Justice MR Shah, Justice Krishna Murari, Justice Hima Kohli, and Justice PS Narasimha that the Uddav Thackeray faction itself has relied on the judgment in Nabam Rebia, while challenging the petitions for disqualification of members of their faction.
Salve referred to the pleading where the petitioners had relied upon the judgment and said "Now the petitioners are saying the judgment is wrong. My Lord, there has to be some rule of holding people to what they have come to court".
"Now you can't say that this is the law, and so on this, I will get a stay, but I will get up and argue that this law is wrong", Salve said.
Justice Narasimha then asked Salve on a lighter note whether they have filed a counter affidavit to that petition saying Nabam Rebia is wrong. "No, My Lord. We were careful", replied Salve to the judges who were laughing.
"Mr. Salve, the bottom line is, Nabam Rebia becomes right or wrong based on which side you are in a political situation", the CJI remarked.
Earlier, during a course of the hearing, Salved had argued, "The only petition in which Nabam Rebia today is a live issue, is a petition settled by Mr. Kamat (Senior Advocate Devadatt Kamat) who, perhaps realizing the folly of his ways has argued that Nabim Rebia should be reversed, is a petition by a group of people against whom Shinde faction has filed defection petitions, they have come to your Lordships saying because of Nabam Rebia, because we have applied for removal of the current speaker, do not allow him to continue."
I Will Close With A Story
Harish Salve said that he wants to close his arguments with a story that Senior Advocate K. Parasaran (former Attorney General) told a Constitution Bench.
"In Satyug, a man was a tenant of a farm. He found a pot of gold. He went to the owner and said, this belongs to you because I only have the farm for cultivating grain. The owner said, no, god willed you to get it. That is why you discovered it", Salve narrated to a Bench that was keenly listening.
"They had a dispute. They went to the King, by which time it was Kalyug. So contrary to their pleadings, the tenant said this is mine because I found it and the owner said this is in my land and therefore it is mine", Salve continued.
That is what is going on here, Salve said.
"He says power gets the pot of gold", Kapil Sibal intervened on a lighter note.
"What the King said and what I want your Lordships to hold- Don't waste my time", Salve said.
"In India, we have an Act of 1972. When a treasure is found it belongs to the treasury", CJI Chandrachud said smiling.
"I was only going to close by saying, your Lordship should do what the King did- Tell the both of them, don't waste our time", Salve said concluding his arguments and the CJI thanked him.
After Salve, Senior Advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul argued for the Shinde faction, followed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who appeared for the Governor of Maharashtra.
The Bench agreed to hear Senior Advocates Mahesh Jethmalani and Maninder Singh for the respondents tomorrow, before Kapil Sibal starts his rejoinder for the Uddhav Thackeray faction.