Court Can’t Dictate Timeframe To Speaker: Narwekar On Disqualification Pleas Against Maha CM

Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar. (File: PTI)

Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar. (File: PTI)

The plea moved by Shiv Sena (UBT) MLA Sunil Prabhu last week alleged Speaker Narwekar was deliberately delaying the adjudication despite apex court’s May 11 verdict

Days after the Shiv Sena (UBT) approached the Supreme Court for speedy adjudication of disqualification petitions against 16 Shiv Sena MLAs including Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Narwekar has said the court cannot dictate a timeframe to the Speaker for a decision on the matter.

The plea moved by Shiv Sena (UBT) MLA Sunil Prabhu last week alleged Speaker Narwekar was deliberately delaying the adjudication despite the May 11 verdict of the apex court.

The speaker, despite the categorical direction of the top court in its May 11 judgment that the pending disqualification petitions must be decided within a reasonable period, has chosen to not conduct a single hearing, the plea said.

Prabhu, as chief whip of the undivided Shiv Sena, had in 2022 filed the disqualification petitions against Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and other Sena MLAs who tied up with the BJP to form a new government in June last year.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Narwekar said, ”The court cannot dictate the Legislative Assembly Speaker a timeframe to decide on the matter because law and legislature are two separate bodies of our democracy. Even if it does, I have a right to not accept a notice to this effect.” “The court can decide once I take the decision, but the court cannot order the Speaker and force him to take a decision within a certain timeframe,” he said.

Asked about the time he requires to decide on the matter, Narwekar said what has happened in Maharashtra is ”unprecedented”.

”I do not have any guideline on such an incident from any other state. Hence, it is complex and crucial for me on how to take a decision on such a matter,” he said.

Narwekar said notices have been issued to MLAs of both the Sena factions and if he gets a petition seeking additional time to reply, then he will decide on it on the basis of the request content.

To a query on when will he take a call on the recent revolt in the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Narwekar said, “I will go as per the chronology of petitions filed before the Speaker’s office. I cannot select any particular petition.” On May 11, the SC ruled that Eknath Shinde will continue to be the chief minister of Maharashtra.

The top court said it cannot reinstate the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition government headed by Uddhav Thackeray as the Sena leader chose to resign without facing a floor test in the wake of Shinde’s rebellion.

Narwekar on Saturday said notices have been issued to 40 MLAs of CM Shinde-led Shiv Sena and 14 of the Uddhav Thackeray faction, seeking their replies on disqualification petitions against them.

These legislators have been given seven days to file their reply, he said.

Narwekar earlier said he has received a copy of the Shiv Sena’s constitution from the Election Commission of India, and that hearing on the disqualification petitions against 16 Shiv Sena MLAs, including CM Shinde, would start soon.

Former CM Thackeray recently said the Supreme Court has already given a framework to the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker.

”The Speaker will have to decide on the disqualification issue within the given framework. If he tries to bypass it, the Supreme Court’s doors are always open for us,” the Shiv Sena (UBT) leader said.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)

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