Last Updated: March 15, 2023, 17:48 IST
The Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena-NCP-Congress coalition in Maharashtra lost power after a coup in the Shiv Sena by Eknath Shinde, who went on to form a new government with the BJP in June 2022. (News18 creative using PTI photos)
CJI Chandrachud asked what happened overnight in the happy marriage of the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress that lasted for three years
As the Supreme Court of India on Wednesday continued its hearing in the case related to the rift in the Shiv Sena, Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud questioned former Maharashtra Governor B S Koshyari’s role in calling the trust vote which toppled of the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government in Maharashtra last year.
CJI Chandrachud asked what happened overnight in the happy marriage of the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress that lasted for three years. “They broke bread with the Congress and the NCP for three years. What happened overnight after three years of a happy marriage?” the CJI was quoted as asking by LiveLaw.
“It will be a sad spectacle for democracy,” a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud said while taking forward the hearing on the events that unfolded during the June 2022 Maharashtra political crisis triggered by a revolt in the then undivided Shiv Sena by MLAs loyal to Eknath Shinde.
The bench made the observations after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Maharashtra governor, narrated the sequence of events and said there were various materials before the governor including a letter signed by 34 Shiv Sena MLAs, a letter from Independent lawmakers withdrawing support to the Uddhav Thackeray government, and another of the Leader of the Opposition that prompted him to order a trust vote.
“Three years you co-habit and suddenly one fine day a group of 34 say there is discontent,” the CJI said. “The Governor can’t be oblivious to the fact that in a three-party coalition, the dissent has taken place in one party of the three. The other two are steadfast in the coalition. They are not by any means sidekicks,” he observed.
“Suppose there is a policy difference in a party on whatever aspects. Can the governor merely on that say that you must prove your trust vote? The governor must equally be conscious of the fact that his calling for a trust vote may itself be a circumstance which may lead to toppling of a government,” the CJI said.
“He can call for a floor test if he has any circumstances before him to indicate that the strength of this three party coalition has been substantial,” he said. “You can never allow the governor to ask for a trust vote when there is absolutely nothing to shake the majority on the floor of the house.”
“Governor’s trust vote is where the majority in the house is shaken. Where was there anything to indicate that?” asked the CJI.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena-NCP-Congress coalition in Maharashtra lost power after a coup in the Shiv Sena by Eknath Shinde, who went on to form a new government with the BJP in June 2022.
The Supreme Court is hearing petitions that question the foundation of the Shinde government, arguing that Mr Shinde and 15 other rebels were disqualified at the time of the trust vote.
(With PTI inputs)
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