Home india-news How do we reinstate a CM who didn’t even face floor test?: SC on Sena crisis | Latest News India

How do we reinstate a CM who didn’t even face floor test?: SC on Sena crisis | Latest News India

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How do we reinstate a CM who didn’t even face floor test?: SC on Sena crisis | Latest News India

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Calling it an “intellectual conundrum”, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Uddhav Thackeray faction how a court can reinstate a chief minister who did not even face the floor test and chose to resign, even as it reserved its verdict on a clutch of petitions arising out of a vertical split in the Shiv Sena last year.

The Supreme Court bench said that the burden is on the court to reflect on the extensive arguments made from all sides in the Shiv Sena matter and deliver a judgment. (PTI)
The Supreme Court bench said that the burden is on the court to reflect on the extensive arguments made from all sides in the Shiv Sena matter and deliver a judgment. (PTI)

As the Thackeray faction argued that the top court must restore the position as it was before the governor called for a floor test that forced then-CM Thackeray to resign, a Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud wondered if this proposition can hold water after Thackeray opted to quit.

Read | Fight over Shiv Sena only between Uddhav, Shinde: Election Commission to Supreme Court

“This (order for a status quo ante) would have been a logical thing to do provided you had lost the trust vote on the floor of the assembly…because then clearly, you have been ousted from power because of a trust vote which is set aside,” said the bench, which also included justices MR Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha.

Defending Thackeray’s decision, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi responded that it is a red herring, and that his resignation or not facing the trust vote — which eventually led to the rival faction led by chief minister Eknath Shinde assume power with the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party — is irrelevant since the directive of a floor test was a result of a set of illegal actions which need to be struck down by the court.

Also read | ‘Atal ji became PM for sake of secularism’: Uddhav attacks BJP over Advani snub

But the bench remarked: “It’s like the court being told that you reinstate a government which has resigned…How can the court reinstate a chief minister who did not even face the floor test? Look at the intellectual conundrum. It’s not that you have been ousted from power as a result of trust vote which was wrongly summoned by government. You chose not to face it.”

Singhvi, on his part, contended that the resignation happened only because of an illegal act of the governor in calling for a trust vote and that the Thackeray camp had very well challenged the same before the top court too.

“The CM’s participation or lack thereof will not dilute the illegality. If it’s illegal, it’s illegal. How does my non-participation validate the act of governor — this is the core question…if the original act of calling the trust vote is bad, the consequence of the trust vote cannot be held to be legal. There was no basis for the governor’s action,” he added.

The bench said that the burden is on the court to reflect on the extensive arguments made from all sides in the matter and deliver a judgment.

On Wednesday, the bench had questioned the Maharashtra governor’s rationale in calling for a trust vote that led to a political upheaval in the state last year, observing that the governor’s actions causing a government to topple is “very very serious for democracy”.

Thackeray resigned on June 29 last year, hours after the top court declined to stay the floor test scheduled to be held a day later on the directive of the Maharashtra governor. Through a bunch of petitions filed by his supporters, Thackeray has urged the Supreme Court to set aside the governor’s direction and order status quo ante — restore the position as it was before the governor’s mandate that compelled him to resign without facing the floor test.

Appearing for the Shinde faction, senior counsel Neeraj Kishan Kaul, Mahesh Jethmalani and Maninder Singh repeatedly pointed out that Thackeray sought to quell intraparty dissension by trying to disqualify a group of rebel MLAs while simultaneously pursuing to cobble up an illicit majority through threat and intimidation.

They cited a bundle of Supreme Court judgments, including the historic verdict in the SR Bommai Case (1994), which emphatically held that the real test of majority of a government is on the floor of the House and therefore, the governor was duty-bound to call for a trust vote after the Shinde camp wrote to him.



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