SC directs Maharashtra Assembly speaker to decide disqualification of  petitions filed in relation to the Shiv Sena rift by December 31, 2023, and the NCP by January 31, 2024

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Today, the Supreme Court (SC) of India directed the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker (Rahul Narwekar) to decide on a batch of pleas regarding the disqualification of petitions filed in relation to the Shiv Sena rift by December 31, 2023, and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) rift by January 31, 2024. The matter was heard today by a three-judge SC bench including Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice Manoj Misra, and Justice JB Pardiwala. The SC bench ordered, “We have repeatedly granted time to the speaker to complete proceedings under the 10th schedule, now an affidavit has been filed by the Maharashtra legislative secretariat. It says there are two groups of disqualification petitions - one of Shiv Sena and one of NCP. The affidavit says the secretariat will be closed during Diwali vacations and the winter session of assembly will be in Nagpur. We are of the view that procedural wranglings cannot lead to delay in decision of disqualification petitions.”

The writ petitions were filed by a member of Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray), Sunil Prabhu, and a member of NCP (Sharad Pawar) Jayant Patil seeking expeditious decision by the speaker on the disqualification petitions filed against the Eknath Shinde and Ajit Pawar factions respectively. While addressing the concern mentioned by Senior Advocate (SA) Mukul Rohatgi regarding the petitions related to the NCP rift, the bench said, “We will record Mr. Sibal’s statement that for Group B (NCP) at this stage we are only concerned with petitions filed in July…As far as the group B petitions are concerned, the disqualification issue is confined only to issues filed in July.” SA Kapil Sibal and Devadatt Kamat appeared for the Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray groups whereas SA Rohatgi and SA Neeraj Kishan Kaul appeared for Ajit Pawar and Eknath Shinde groups respectively.