Eknath Shinde Should Resign Like I Did: Uddhav's First Reaction After SC Ruling
The SC on Thursday held the Maharashtra governor was not justified in calling upon Uddhav Thackeray to prove majority in the Assembly last year but refused to order status quo ante, saying he did not face the floor test and resigned.
Making his first public reaction after the Supreme Court's verdict in last year's Shiv Sena-centric political crisis in Maharashtra, former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday said that his successor Eknath Shinde should resign as he did. His reaction came shortly after the SC held that the then Maharashtra governor -- Bhagat Singh Koshyari -- was not justified in calling upon Uddhav Thackeray to prove a majority in the Assembly on June 30 last year. The top court, however, said that it cannot restore the then Uddhav government as he resigned without facing the floor test.
"Eknath Shinde won after murdering democracy. He should resign as Chief Minister like I did," Uddhav Thackeray told a press conference after the SC verdict.
He also said that his resignation as the CM in June last year may have been legally 'wrong' but he did it on 'moral grounds'.
"They (now Shinde faction MLAs) betrayed my party and the legacy of my father (Bal Thackeray)," Uddhav said.
Eknath Shinde will continue as the chief minister of Maharashtra, with the Supreme Court holding that it cannot restore the then Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government led by Uddhav Thackeray as he resigned without facing the floor test in June last year. The court also pulled up then Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and said he did not have reasons based on objective material before him to reach the conclusion that then chief minister Thackeray had lost the confidence of the House.
In a unanimous verdict on a batch of pleas related to the political crisis that led to the fall of the three-party MVA government led by Thackeray following a revolt by the Shinde faction, a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud held that the then Speaker's decision to appoint Bharat Gogawale of the Shinde faction as the whip of Shiv Sena was 'illegal'.
It, however, said since Thackeray had resigned without facing the floor test, the Governor was justified in inviting Shinde to form the government at the behest of the BJP which was the largest political party in the house.
"The Governor was not justified in calling upon Mr Thackeray to prove his majority on the floor of the House because he did not have reasons based on objective material before him to reach the conclusion that Mr Thackeray had lost the confidence of the House," the bench, which also comprised Justices MR Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha, said.
However, the status quo ante (previously existing state of affairs) can't be restored because Thackeray did not face the floor test and tendered his resignation. The Governor was, therefore, justified in inviting Mr Shinde to form the government at the behest of the BJP which was the largest political party in the house, it added.
The top court also referred the 2016 Nabam Rebia verdict by a five-judge constitution bench, which relates to the power of the speaker on disqualification of MLAs, to a larger bench of seven judges.
It said the issues such as whether the motion for Speaker's removal will restrict his powers to issue disqualification notices, needed examination by a larger bench. The 2016 judgment dealt with the powers of the assembly speaker and ruled that he/she cannot proceed with pleas for disqualification of MLAs if a prior notice seeking the speaker's removal is pending before the House.
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