More time likely to be sought to decide Shiv Sena disqualification petitions

Mumbai: As the hearing on disqualification petitions against 52 Shiv Sena MLAs enters the final stage of arguments, there is still a question mark on whether Speaker Rahul Narwekar will be able to decide them before December 31. The Supreme Court has set December 31 as the deadline for the Speaker to decide the petitions. However, considering the voluminous documents presented before him, the Speaker is likely to seek three more weeks to write the final order.

According to reports, both Shiv Sena factions have filed nearly two lakh pages of documents and submission in support of their cases. The Uddhav Thackeray faction has filed disqualification petitions against 38 MLAs on the ground that they defied party whips and indulged in anti-party activities. On the other hand, the Eknath Shinde faction has contended that they are the Shiv Sena and 14 MLAs supporting Mr. Thackeray have defined whips and acted against the party’s aims and objectives stated in the party constitution.

The secretariat of the Maharashtra assembly is likely to move an application before the Apex court seeking more time, reports said. The deposition of witnesses in the cases completed on Tuesday this week. The final arguments of both sides will begin on Monday and are expected to conclude on Wednesday next week. “This leaves the Speaker only nine days before December 31 to consider all the documents, oral evidence and legal submissions and pass the order,” a source said.

There are a total of 34 petitions before the Speaker. “These petitions have been clubbed in six categories, which means that he will have to write six separate orders,” the source said.

However, an MLA from the Thackeray faction said that they are expecting the Speaker’s decision on or before December 31. “We do not think the Speaker will delay his decision any further. He will disqualify all of us (MLAs from the Thackeray faction). After that we will challenge his decision before the Supreme Court, where we are confident of getting justice,” the MLA said.

In October, the SC had directed Mr. Narwekar to decide on the disqualification petitions against Shiv Sena MLAs by December 31. The court had also expressed its displeasure over the fact that Mr. Narwekar had not started hearing the petitions even seven months after the SC asked him to decide the petitions.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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