Maharashtra Political Crisis: Supreme Court Gives Go-Ahead For Floor Test Tomorrow

In its verdict it pronounced that it is giving the go ahead for the floor test tomorrow and will thus not be staying the floor test slated to be held on Thursday.

Maharashtra Political Crisis: Supreme Court Gives Go-Ahead For Floor Test Tomorrow

On Wednesday, June 29, the Supreme Court (SC) heard the plea filed by Shiv Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu challenging the state Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's direction to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority on the floor of the House on Thursday, June 30.

In its verdict, it pronounced that it is giving the go-ahead for the floor test tomorrow and will thus not be staying the floor test slated to be held on Thursday. It issued a notice to Prabhu highlighting that tomorrow's floor test will be subject to the outcome of the current petition. 

Moreover, the judiciary also permitted jailed NCP leaders Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh to participate in the floor test tomorrow.

According to reports, during the hearing, Prabhu's lawyer told the SC that the letter which tells them about the floor test mentions that on Tuesday, June 28, the Opposition Leader met the Governor and the next morning they received information about the floor test. 

He added that two NCP members are suffering from COVID-19, while one from Congress is not in India. The lawyer believes this is "supersonic speed for the floor test". 

Further, he uttered that since the floor test determines which government represents the people's will, it is supposed to investigate the true majority, which he says comprises those eligible. 

The lawyer added that it is similar to saying that the Election Commission conducting election claiming that the electorate will entail dead people or those who moved out. He submitted that the floor test should not transpire before the Speaker's decision. After his decision, the lawyer mentions, that the number of members of the House will alter.

To this, the SC asked him that while the disqualification case is pending before them, they will decide if the notice is valid, but at the same questioned how it affected the floor test. 

The lawyer responded that it is a stark contradiction since while it has stayed the disqualification proceeding, tomorrow MLAs are going to vote. He says that the disqualification proceedings which have been kept for June 11 are directly related to the floor test.

The SC then went on to question if the 34 members of their party have not signed any letter. The lawyer responded that there is no verification of it with the Governor keeping the letter for a week and only acting on it once the LoP met him.

Advocate Singhvi was quoted saying, "These MLAs go to Surat and then to Guwahati after sending an unverified email that they have no trust in Speaker, to disable him from exercising 10th schedule power."

He enunciated that those who have defected do not represent the people's will.

Following this, Neeraj Kishan Kaul appearing for Eknath Shinde argued that the disqualification proceedings have no bearing on the floor test. He elaborated on how the floor test is at the discretion of the Governor, unless it is held irrational or mala fide, interference cannot be held.

Kaul opined that Thackeray's reluctance to face the floor test prima facie makes it seem that he has lost the majority in the house. He added that his client is with Shiv Sena and has an overwhelming majority. Of 55 in Shinde's camp, 39 are MLAs. Narratives quoted him mentioning, "It is the hopeless minority of 14 opposing us". 

This was followed by arguments of Maninder Singh appearing for the rebel MLAs who claimed that whenever the SC has sat this late it has conducted a floor test, but this is the first time that a request has been made to do the opposite. He submitted that Shiv Sena only has 16 MLAs, whilst they have 39. 

Later, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta commenced arguments for the Governor. He pronounced that the law has interdicted the speaker.  

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