Can't drag on indefinitely, SC tells Maha Speaker to decide on MLAs facing disqualification in Sena vs Sena case
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has slammed Maharashtra Speaker Rahul Narwekar over delays in ruling on the disqualification of lawmakers in the Sena vs Sena row that took off after some lawmakers quit the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and joined the rebel faction led by now chief minister Eknath Shinde.
The court warned Narwekar he couldn't continue to drag after being given nearly five months to decide and demanded to know what action had been taken following the court's May 11 judgement.
A bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Narwekar, that "Mr SG, he has to decide. He can't do this (keep delaying the decision). What did the Speaker do after the May 11 judgement by (this) court?"
The apex court reiterated its earlier order - to "decide the disqualification petitions within a reasonable period" - but this time left no room for interpretation, noting, "We direct that (the) Speaker shall hear the matter (of disqualification) no later than a period of one week".
The court also sought a proposed timeline of the hearing from Narwekar and reminded him that the office of the Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly had to follow the dignity of the Supreme Court.
The court then listed the matter for its hearing in two weeks' time.
The Supreme Court's strong comments came as it heard a petition by the Uddhav Thackeray faction urging it to direct Narwekar to take an early decision on the petitions.
A total of 34 - filed by both sides - seeking disqualification of 56 MLAs, including Chief Minister Shinde, are pending.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioner, told the court that the plea was filed after alleged prolonged inaction from the Speaker following the May 11 order.
Sibal said the September 14 hearing of the disqualification petitions was conducted only after the court listed his petition.
Narwekar began hearing disqualification petitions last week but only for a few hours before Shinde faction lawyers claimed they had not received some documents and it was postponed.