‘Only Speaker Can Take Decision On Disqualification Of MLAs, Shinde Govt Stable’: Rahul Narvekar Ahead Of SC Verdict

New Delhi: The political cauldron is once again boiling in Maharashtra with the Supreme Court set to deliver its verdict on the Shiv Sena vs Sena battle on Thursday. Amidst the discussion, Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narvekar said that the issue of disqualification can only be decided by the Speaker.

In a special conversation with News18 before leaving to attend the Ideas for Indian Conference in London, Narvekar said, ‘Honourable Supreme Court has given a long hearing to this matter. Many controversial issues were discussed in this hearing but I believe that the issue of disqualification of members on the ground of defection can be settled only through a petition before the Speaker. Only the Speaker can hear and decide such petitions. Judiciary, executive and legislature have equal place in the constitution. Therefore, in order to maintain constitutional discipline, I am sure the court will not interfere with the decision-making powers of the Speaker.”

The Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena (UBT) had filed a disqualification petition against 16 MLAs, including current chief minister Eknath Shinde, following a split in the party. On Thursday, the Supreme Court will give its verdict on this issue.

Before leaving for Delhi to attend the hearing, Shiv Sena UBT leader Anil Parab said, “We have raised questions on the appointment of the Speaker and hence we have urged the Supreme Court to take a decision on the disqualification of these MLAs.” We did not ask the speaker as he has been appointed with the support of these MLAs. The Governor’s letter inviting Shinde to form the government is also under question. If the Supreme Court rules that the Governor’s process of calling a session of the Legislative Assembly and electing the Speaker is void, the government may fall.

However, according to Narvekar, the election of the Speaker was done following the constitutional procedure by moving a resolution for the election. He said: “164 MLAs voted in favor of the motion and 107 against the motion, so if you look at the numbers on record, there is no question of a resolution on the Speaker’s appointment being invalid.” He said: “This government has already established its majority on the floor of the House and given the numbers it has, I do not see any threat to the government.”

Regarding the disqualification of the MLAs, Parab told News18 that the matter is not only of 16 MLAs. “Though we have filed a disqualification petition against 16 MLAs, simultaneously we have filed a disqualification petition with the state assembly speaker’s office. So if these 16 MLAs are disqualified on this basis, then more than 24 MLAs of Shiv Sena (Shinde camp) will also be disqualified.

Shiv Sena UBT is relying on the 10th Schedule of the Constitution and the Nabam Rabia case to strengthen its case. If the decision does not come in his favor, he is ready to file a review petition in the Supreme Court. We had issued a whip before the split in Shiv Sena. His whip was released much later. If SC upholds the earlier whip, this government may fall. The Supreme Court has to authorize some whip and before our whip, no other existed for the Shiv Sena,” Parab said.

Meanwhile, as the political temperature rises, the timing of Narvekar’s visit to London and his recent meeting with Union Minister Kiren Rijiju has raised eyebrows. However, dismissing the allegations, Narvekar said that Rijiju was his “good friend” and they met when he was in Mumbai to attend an official event. He said, “My visit to London was planned and I had no idea that the Supreme Court might announce its verdict on the same day.”