Supreme Court told Uddhav camp, cannot insult constitutional posts

New Delhi: Observing that “there is no end” if constitutional offices are defamed because of certain exceptions, the Supreme Court on Tuesday sought to take away the Speaker’s power to decide disqualification petitions against members of the House. expressed his disinterest. The Uddhav Thackeray-led faction urged the court to pronounce its verdict on the petition seeking disqualification of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and 38 other legislators of the rival faction.

A constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dhananjay Y Chandrachud called it a “big problem” for the court to enter into a “political quagmire” and decide disqualification petitions by substituting the Speaker’s mandate with judicial exercise.

“There are only two options – either you reject the authority of the Speaker, or regardless of what lesser mortals decide, ultimately in a democracy you value the office of the institutions. If we start denigrating constitutional offices, including the office of the Speaker, there is no end,” remarked the bench, which also comprised MR Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha.

While hearing the legal issues surrounding the framework of several petitions and disqualification proceedings arising out of the vertical split in the Shiv Sena last year and the powers of the Governor and the Speaker, the court observed that institutional mechanisms are empowered to decide disqualification petitions against members of a House. The speaker was put in place through a legislative process and court rulings have only interpreted the relevant provisions.

“Just because one or two Speakers have gone astray, would this court be inclined to strike down the entire process and the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection law)? It’s a puzzle…it’s a big problem for the court. On the one hand, if the Speaker is with you, you will say that it is a constitutional right and the Court cannot give directions to the Speaker. When you have some difficulty, you will say see how the Speaker is behaving.’

It remarked that as long as there remains a series of Supreme Court judgments on the primacy of the Speaker in acting as a tribunal to decide disqualification petitions, constitution benches will follow it. “We will go by the principle that the Speaker is the tribunal to decide the petitions under the Tenth Schedule. This is the final decision and we will not back down from that decision.

The court’s reluctance to decide the disqualification petitions filed by the Thackeray faction against Shinde and his camp MLAs last year came to the fore when senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the former chief minister’s side, argued that new sources of information were needed to decide the disqualification. The Speaker cannot be trusted. Request fairly.

Sibal, assisted by advocate Amit Anand Tiwari, said that not only was the election of BJP MLA Rahul Narvekar as the new Speaker of the Assembly with the support of the Shinde camp, Narvekar could not be expected to vote and recognize the whip. Will take a just decision on the petitions after giving them. Shiv Sena party leader from Shinde-group. “How can this court have confidence in such a Speaker?” He asked.

But the bench retorted, “When you say that the Speaker should have been allowed to decide when the petition was filed by the other side, you also believed it. The Constitutional right of the Speaker to decide Not based on who the Speaker is and what the Speaker decides.”

At this point, Sibal again asserted that Narvekar had illegally appointed the whip and leader of the party, but the bench replied: “Then you had the first Speaker, who, in defiance of legislative rules, gave the other party two terms. The day’s notice was given to reply.”

The bench noted that questions about the impartiality of the Speaker are often raised before the top court, but it seems that there is a lack of equal enthusiasm for the parliamentary process to make the desired changes.

“How many times have MPs raised the question that let’s amend the Constitution? How many times was the discussion held in the Parliament to review the functioning of the office of the Speaker? How many times have the parties sat together and said that the system is not working properly and needs to be changed? But every time it is taken up before this court which is not the forum to decide such issues. The bench will continue hearing the matter on Wednesday.

Constitution bench seized of a batch of petitions filed by Shinde and Thackeray factions with regard to disqualification proceedings against MLAs of both camps, election of Narvekar as the new president, recognition of a new party whip for Shiv Sena and direction to the governor Have done. Thackeray to prove his majority on the floor of the House and later invite Shinde to form the new government in the state.