After the submission of a joint petition filed by Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP, the Supreme Court reserves the order on Monday.
The petition was filed by the three parties against the formation of the Maharashtra government. The Sc has reserved the order the plea which was also made against the Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari to invite BJP to form the government in Maharashtra.
After the oath ceremony of Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday morning, the Maharashtra politics has taken a big turn of events. Ajit Pawar, nephew of Sharad Pawar, head of NCP joined hands with BJP and was sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister.
Sharad Pawar has since distanced NCP from Ajit Pawar terming his decision as a personal decision. The news of Fadnavis’s oath ceremony came after the talks between Congress, NCP and Sena came on common consensus and Uddhav Thackeray was set to be the CM of Maharashtra. The whole ‘midnight coup’ has led to chaos in the Parliament today, as well.
The order on whether the floor test will be conducted for proving the majority of the BJP-led Fadnavis government is expected to be announced at 10:30 am tomorrow.
A bench of Justices N V Ramana, Ashok Bhushan, and Sanjiv Khanna today heard the arguments put forth by counsels appearing for Governor, Maharashtra, BJP and other parties.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Maharashtra Governor’s office presented the letter of Governor inviting BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis to form the government. He said that the Governor invited the largest party to form the government, in absolute discretion on Saturday.
Devendra Fadnavis staked claim following the letter of NCP’s Ajit Pawar along with letters of support of 11 independent and other MLAs. The Governor then wrote to the President and requested for revocation of the President’s Rule; Governor in his wisdom invited the leader of the largest party,” he submitted.
The Solicitor General added that Fadnavis has a support of 170 MLAs. He also sought two-three days’ time from the court to file a reply by asserting that he wants to place additional material on record. Mukul Rohtagi who is presenting the BJP side said, “Judicial review not permitted. The floor test is imperative. But it is the discretion of the Speaker to decide when the floor test is to be held,” he said.
Next, Senior Advocate, Maninder Singh made his submissions on behalf of NCP’s Ajit Pawar and said that his client was a member of BJP and there is no evidence to prove otherwise.
Since there were questions raised after the tweet of Sharad Pawar which said that Ajit’s decision was a personal one, the advocate presented an argument that on November 22, Ajit Pawar was a leader of NCP who joined hands with BJP.
Ajit Pawar’s decision to support the BJP to form the Maharashtra Government is his personal decision and not that of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
We place on record that we do not support or endorse this decision of his.
— Sharad Pawar (@PawarSpeaks) November 23, 2019
He said, “My list [granting support to BJP] was constitutionally, legally correct. There is nothing to show that I was not the NCP leader on November 22. I will resolve disputes within my party but this petition must end now,” Singh told the court on behalf of Ajit Pawar.
Countering these arguments, Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Shiv Sena, said, “What was the national emergency that President rule was revoked at 5.17 am and swearing-in was at 8 am? President Rule was revoked at 5.17 am which means everything happened before 5.17.”
He further said that a floor test must be conducted within 24 hours with videography and a single ballot.
Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Congress, referred the move to invite the BJP to form the government in Maharashtra as “murder of democracy”.
“What BJP alliance has shown to Court are signatures of 54 NCP MLAs electing Ajit Pawar as legislative party leader. They were not signed in support of joining the BJP alliance to form a government. NCP’s support to Ajit Pawar was without any covering letter. How can the Governor turn a blind eye to this,” he told the court.