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SC Says Pleas Filed By Sena, Rebel MLAs Raise Constitutional Questions, May Refer It To A Larger Bench

The Supreme Court asked the parties in the case to frame by July 27 issues for consideration by a larger bench and the matter would be heard on August 1.

Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the petitions filed by the Shiv Sena and its rebel MLAs raise many constitutional questions which require consideration by a larger bench.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana directed the parties to formulate issues which require examination by a larger bench by July 27.

"After hearing the counsels it has been agreed that some issues may, if necessary, be referred to a larger bench also. Keeping in mind the same, to enable the parties to frame the issues, let them file the same preferably by next Wednesday," the bench also comprising Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli said.

The CJI-led bench on July 11 had granted interim relief to the Uddhav Thackeray faction MLAs by asking Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar not to proceed with the plea seeking their disqualification as sought by the Shinde group on the grounds of defying the party whip during the trust vote and the election of the speaker.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Uddhav Thackeray faction, told a bench headed by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana that the Speaker of the Assembly recognizing a whip other than the official whip nominated by the party is malafide.

"What happens to the verdict of people? The 10th schedule is turned topsy-turvy and has been used to instigate defection," Sibal told the bench also comprising Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Hima Kohli. 

Senior lawyer Harish Salve, appearing for Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, stated that in a democracy people may gang up and tell the prime minister that sorry you cannot continue.

"If a leader gathers strength within the party and stays in it to question the leader without leaving the party. It is not defection," Salve submitted.

The Supreme Court asked the parties in the case to frame by July 27 issues for consideration by a larger bench and the matter would be heard on August 1.

The bench also comprising justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli was hearing five pending peas about the recent political crisis in Maharashtra that led to the fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state. 

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