SS-Cong-NCP move SC, seek order for floor test on Sun

Shiv Sena party Chief Uddhav Thackeray (L) looks on as Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief Sharad Pawar speaks at a press conference in Mumbai. (AFP Photo)

In a day of swift political developments, the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress on Saturday moved the Supreme Court challenging validity of Maharashtra governor B S Koshyari's "brazen action" to invite BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis to form the government.

The top court agreed to consider the plea on Sunday, by holding a special sitting of a bench.

The three parties, claiming support of more than 144 MLAs to form govt under leadership of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, asked the top court to quash the Governor's decision as "unconstitutional, arbitrary, illegal, void-ab-initio, and violative of Article 14 of Constitution".

They sought a direction from the court for conducting the floor test on Sunday with the nomination of a pro-tem Speaker as was directed in the case of Karnataka Assembly in 2018. 

It was necessary to avoid "further horse-trading and illegal maneuvers to somehow cobble up a majority" from the Maha Vikas Agadi, formed by the three parties, they said, further, maintaining that the seven-day time granted to Fadnavis to prove majority was completely illegal.

The petition was filed at 8.23 pm and the court fixed it for hearing on Sunday at 11.30 am as the counsel sought urgent consideration.

The joint petition was settled by senior advocate Devadatt Kamat and drafted by advocate Sunil Fernandes, Rajesh Inamdar, among others. 

In their plea, the three parties insisted BJP clearly fell short of the halfway mark of 144. In any event, the BJP cannot get the support of majority through legal constitutional means in the face of the provisions of the Tenth Schedule (anti-reflection law), they said.

They sought a direction for summoning a special session of the 14th Maharashtra Legislative Assembly with the only agenda of administering the oath to the MLAs, immediately followed by the holding of a floor test on November 24.

The petitioners relied upon the top court's order passed on May 17, 2018 in case of Karnataka Assembly and sought a direction to the Governor to furnish records related to an invitation to Fadnavis to form the government on November 23.

"The action of the Governor in installing a minority Government is ex facie against the basic rule of law and the rule of parliamentary democracy i.e. rule by majority," 
they said. 

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