HC Issues Notice on Plea To Disqualify Sharad Pawar Faction MLAs

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Maharashtra legislature secretariat and 10 MLAs belonging to the Sharad Pawar camp on petitions filed by the Ajit Pawar-led NCP. The Ajit faction has filed two petitions challenging the Speaker’s decision to not disqualify 10 MLAs from the Sharad Pawar camp.

A division bench of Justice G.S. Kulkarni and Justice Firdosh Pooniwalla issued the notice and posted the matter for hearing on March 14.

The Ajit faction has contended that the order passed by Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar on February 15 was bad in law and urged the high court to quash it. The petition has also sought immediate disqualification of the 10 MLAs supporting Sharad Pawar.

The petition has claimed that there was a split in the NCP and the Speaker has wrongly held it as an intra-party dissent. It has been argued that the Speaker should have disqualified the 10 legislators under the 10th schedule of the Constitution after he concluded that the Ajit Pawar faction was the “real NCP”.

Anil Patil, who has been appointed as the chief whip by the Ajit faction has filed the two petitions. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Mr. Patil, submitted to the court that the major findings made by the speaker were in Ajit Pawar’s favour except for the non-disqualification of the 10 MLAs. “The speaker has wrongly held that this was a case of internal strife within the party. But that is not our case. This is not just a case of internal dispute,” he said.

On February 15, Mr. Narwekar held that the NCP faction led by Ajit Pawar was the real NCP. However, he did not disqualify the legislators from either side and held that the anti-defection provisions in the Constitution cannot be used to stifle internal dissent.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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