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HomeIndiaNo decision on Maharashtra floor test, Supreme Court reserves order for Tuesday

No decision on Maharashtra floor test, Supreme Court reserves order for Tuesday

Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress are seeking an immediate floor test. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi argues this will result in horse trading.

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New Delhi: A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court Monday reserved its order on a petition filed by Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress against Governor B.S. Koshyari’s invitation to the BJP to form Maharashtra government with the support of NCP’s Ajit Pawar.

In a surprise move, Koshyari had early Saturday morning administered the oath of office to BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis as the chief minister and Ajit Pawar as his deputy.

The Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice N.V. Ramana, said Monday it will pronounce the order at 10.30 am Tuesday.

During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta provided the court with both the crucial documents it had asked for Sunday — CM Devendra Fadnavis’ letter to Koshyari staking claim, and the Governor’s invite to BJP-NCP to form the government.

It was reported earlier that the floor test would happen before 30 November. However, the letter submitted before SC revealed that Koshyari has given 14 days to BJP-NCP to prove majority on the floor of the House. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi brought this fact to light.

Senior lawyer and former additional solicitor general Maninder Singh, counsel for Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, submitted a letter of support from the NCP camp for him. Pawar was present in court. The letter carried the signatures of all 54 NCP MLAs.

Mehta maintained that challenging the Governor’s decision was “unfounded” as he received a letter from Fadnavis of support from 170 MLAs. The majority mark in the Maharashtra assembly is 145.

“At the stage, the Governor cannot make a roving or fishing inquiry. The letter which showed numbers was the basis of satisfaction of the Governor,” argued Mehta.

The three parties knocked the top court’s door Sunday, seeking an immediate floor test. The bench of Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Ashok Bhushan had Sunday asked the BJP to produce the letters that Fadnavis submitted to Maharashtra Governor B.S. Koshyari, as well as the letters of support that made him swear-in the BJP leader as CM.

Maharashtra has been in a political crisis since the declaration of assembly election results over a month ago.


Also read: Whether it’s CM Fadnavis or CM Thackeray, the only winner in Maharashtra is Rahul Gandhi


‘NCP feud will result in horse trading’

During the hearing, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi appeared for Fadnavis. This was in addition to the independent MLAs and the BJP leaders he appeared for Sunday.

Rohatgi vociferously argued for the floor test to not be conducted immediately, saying the family feud in NCP would result in horse trading. “This was a family feud in NCP. One Pawar (Ajit) was with BJP and another Pawar (Sharad) with petitioners. But it was BJP which showed support of 170 MLAs.”

He persisted that the court cannot order an immediate floor test as the courts can’t assume the role of the Speaker in any case, and can’t be used to preempt the role of the House.

Rohatgi even argued that the court at this stage just cannot venture into when the floor test would be held or direct how the House would function because in that case it would be like “SC was acting on appeal”.

At one point, Maninder Singh, representing Ajit Pawar, exclaimed: “I am NCP”. He also wondered how the petitioners were claiming to be NCP.

This was after senior lawyer and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared for Congress and NCP and said he had original affidavits of all 154 MLAs who supported Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. He said there was no basis for Ajit Pawar to claim support of 54 NCP MLAs.

Ajit Pawar argued that if the validity of the crucial documents was under cloud, the petition stands a chance to be heard. But since there is nothing controversial in the letters before the Supreme Court, the petitioners had no case.

“The NCP support to Ajit Pawar was without any covering letter. How can the governor turn a blind eye to this? This is the murder of democracy. I have original affidavits which state they don’t support Pawar. I am only exposing the conspiracy here,” Singhvi argued before the bench.

Singhvi later withdrew all the original affidavits as it would detail the hearing since BJP would have to be given time to reply to all of them. “I am withdrawing it, but I presented all the original affidavits before you to shock your conscience,” said Singhvi.

On Sunday, the NCP in its plea wondered how the Governor came to a conclusion between late Friday evening and the early hours of Saturday that Fadnavis could form government, especially after the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress had already declared that they would form the government.


Also read: Ajit and Sharad Pawar battle on Twitter, defection threat looms over Shiv Sena and Congress


 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Most probably, it will happen on Wednesday. My guess is strictures on governor could be mild. This is so as Rohatgi and Tushar Mehta have argued coherently. Both warring parties are pretending to be morally superior. But this case is nothing different from many others in the past. The trio alliance is in a better position to win the floor test. BJP has lost ground and simply doesn’t have numbers. The magic rope trick they tried has miserably failed. Yet, durability of NCP-Sena-Congress government is suspect. With Ajit Pawar on the opposite side, defection are bound to take place sooner or later. Fresh elections is the only remedy.

  2. Isn’t the Supreme Court being rather helpful to the ruling party in Mah? If the order is pronounced on Tuesday, surely another 24 hours time would be given, totallying to three days. Enough for the Chanakya to turn the world upside down!

  3. The letters, for which the matter was adjourned by a day, could have been called for by fax or e mail. Since time is of the essence, directions for conducting a floor test could have been issued today, to be followed by a more detailed order. Delay facilitates poaching. 2. 53 NCP MLAs are with Shri Sharad Pawar. Apparently, the 54 signatures on the letter of support tendered by Shri Ajit Pawar were in favour of his appointment as legislative party leader, not for support to the new formation.

    • The farce continues. Some wise man once said, maybe of the current ruling dispensation, that…

      Kehte hain ki…agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaaho to puri kayanat usey tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai.

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