The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a prayer to pass interim order against the holding of floor test in the Maharashtra legislative assembly till July 11, the next date of hearing in the petitions filed by rebel Shiv Sena MLA Eknath Shinde and his 15 supporters.
The plea for interim order against floor test was made by Senior Advocate Devadatt Kamat, who represented Anil Chaudhary and Sunil Prabhu, the Legilsative Party Leader and the Chief Whip of Shiv Sena respectively.
Kamat made the oral plea after a vacation bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala passed an order extending the time for the rebel MLAs till July 12 for filing written response to the disqualification notices issued by the Deputy Speaker. The deadline was otherwise today 5.30 PM. The bench then posted the petitions for further hearing on July 11. The bench also recorded the assurance of the State of Maharashtra that no harm will be caused to the life and properties of the 39 MLAs, who are at present staying at a hotel in Gauhati.
After the order was dictated, Kamat requested for an interim order that till the issue is decided, there will be no floor test.
The bench asked if it can pass orders on the basis of "presumptions".
"Our apprehension is that they are going to ask for a floor test. That will alter the status quo", Kamat submitted.
The bench said that the respondents can come to the Court if anything unlawful happens. Kamat urged the bench to record in the order his oral plea and to make a specific observation that the liberty has been granted to approach the Court.
Expressing disinclination to make any such observation, Justice Kant said, "Do you need our liberty to approach us?Let us not create any complications on basis of apprehensions not founded now.."
Shinde and his supporters have approached the Supreme Court contending that the Deputy Speaker is not competent to initiate disqualification proceedings against them when a resolution seeking his removal is pending.
Senior Advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for the petitioners, argued that it would be constitutionally impermissible for a Speaker to adjudicate upon disqualification petitions under the Tenth Schedule, while a notice of resolution for his own removal from the office of Speaker, is pending. He relied on the 2016 Constitution Bench ruling in Nabam Rebia v. Dy Speaker, Arunachal Pradesh Assembly.
Senior Advocates Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Devadatt Kamat, appearing for the official Shiv Sena group, relied on the judgment in Kihoto Hollohan vs Zachillhu & Ors to argue that the Courts cannot interfere with the disqualification proceedings at an interim stage. They also questioned the authenticity of the notice issued by the rebels seeking Speaker's removal and said that it was sent from an unverified email ID.
Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for the Deputy Speaker, questioned the genuineness of the notice seeking removal of Deputy Speaker. He said that the members should appear before the Deputy Speaker to affirm the authenticity of the notice. He orally assured the Court that no decision on disqualification will be taken in the meantime.