Shinde couldn’t have become CM if speaker had disqualified him: SC

Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde could not have been sworn in as the chief minister of Maharashtra if the assembly speaker was not restrained from deciding the disqualification petitions pending against 39 MLAs, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said. The Shinde faction told the top court that even if 39 MLAs would have been disqualified from the assembly, Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government would have fallen because it had lost majority and the then chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had resigned before the floor test. The Thackeray faction had earlier told the top court that the formation of a new government in Maharashtra under Shinde was the ”direct and inevitable result” of two orders of the apex court dated June 27, 2022 (restraining the speaker from deciding the pending disqualification petitions) and June 29, 2022 (allowing the trust vote to be held) and had ”disturbed the co-equal and mutual balance” between judicial and legislative organs of the State. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud told senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for Shinde bloc, ”They (Uddhav faction) are right to this extent that Eknath Shinde was sworn in as chief minister by the governor and was able to prove his majority because the speaker was not able to proceed with the disqualification proceedings against him and other MLAs.” Kaul said that just after June 29, 2022, Thackeray had resigned because he knew that he did not have a majority and in the floor test held on July 4, last year, his coalition had got only 99 votes as 13 of MVA legislators had abstained from voting.