The Supreme Court on Wednesday (August 3) asked the Shiv Sena faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to redraft its submissions on petitions filed by the rival Uddhav Thackeray group on constitutional issues arising due to the recent political crisis in Maharashtra.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana was hearing petitions filed by the Shiv Sena and its rebel MLAs on constitutional issues of splits, merger, defection and disqualification.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Uddhav Thackeray faction, said the MLAs who have sided with the Shinde camp can save themselves from disqualification under the 10th schedule of the Constitution only by merging the splinter group with another party. They have no other defence available, Sibal told the bench, also comprising justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli.
“Once you have been elected it does not mean the umbilical cord with the political party is severed and that you have nothing to do with your political party,” Sibal said.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the Shinde faction, said the anti-defection law is not a weapon for the leaders who have lost the numbers to lock their members. Referring to factual aspects, Salve said it is not the case that the MLAs have voluntarily given up their membership in the political party.
“It is not a case of defection. Today it is the case of intra-party rebellion and nobody has given voluntary membership from the party,” Salve said.
After hearing the submissions, the bench said it would hear the matter on Thursday (August 4) to decide the issue to be adjudicated by it and asked Salve to redraft the questions of law. The bench would take the case as first matter on Thursday.
(With inputs from agencies)