Submit Governor-Fadnavis letters: SC to Centre

The Supreme Court on Sunday refused to order immediate floor test in Maharashtra Assembly. (PTI Photo)

The Supreme Court on Sunday directed the Union government to furnish the letters exchanged between Maharashtra Governor B S Koshyari and Devendra Fadnavis, which led to the BJP leader being sworn in as the chief minister for a second time on a dramatic Saturday.

During the special hearing held on a holiday, the apex court also issued notices to the Centre and the Maharashtra government on the petition filed by Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine against the Governor’s decision to swear in Fadnavis as chief minister. 

The court also issued a notice to Chief Minister Fadnavis, Deputy CM Ajit Pawar. 

A bench of Justices N V Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to produce the two letters at 10.30 am on Monday, denying his request seeking two days’ time to produce the communication. 

But the top court declined to consider the alliance plea for issuing a direction to the Governor to invite Maha Vikas Aghadi — comprising the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress — to form the government.

 

 

The court noted the contention by senior advocates Kapil Sibal and A M Singhvi, appearing for the three parties, that the Governor’s decision to invite Fadnavis to form the government was unconstitutional. The three parties claimed support of more than 144 MLAs in the 288-member House.

Senior advocates Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Shiv Sena, and A M Singhvi, for the NCP and the Congress, contended the materials on which the Governor took the decision to recommend withdrawal of President’s rule and invite Fadnavis to take oath as the CM were “shrouded in mystery”. They demanded the floor test on Sunday itself.

“We don’t know how much time is given to Fadnavis to prove his majority. The acts of the Governor smacks of bias, and mala fide, and are contrary to all the norms established by the Supreme Court. Floor test must happen today itself,” he said.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for some of the BJP MLAs, questioned the maintainability of the petition, saying the political parties cannot file writ petition directly to the Supreme Court. He cited the court’s judgement in the Karnataka’s disqualified MLAs case to contend that they should have approached the High Court.

Singhvi pointed out that as many as 41 MLAs from the NCP had expelled Ajit Pawar on Saturday. He cited the S R Bommai case judgement to contend that the best thing in such a scenario is to conduct floor test.

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