A day after the BJP government was sworn in with support from a faction of NCP leaders in Maharashtra, the Supreme Court Sunday gave time till 10.30 am tomorrow for the state counsel to produce the letters of Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari recommending revocation of President’s rule in the state and inviting Devendra Fadnavis to form government. It also sought the letter Fadnavis submitted to the Governor showing he has the majority.
The top court was hearing a writ petition filed by Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine against Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari for swearing-in Devendra Fadnavis as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
A bench of Justices N V Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to place on record the letters before it passes appropriate orders tomorrow. The bench declined the request of Mehta who he sought two days time to place the Governor’s communication on record. The apex court has also issued notices to Fadnavis, Ajit Pawar, Maharashtra Government and the Centre.
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The order came after the counsel for the alliance parties urged the court to expedite a floor test while citing its own ruling from last year on the Karnataka floor test. Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu SInghvi, who appeared for the alliance, also maintained that the Congress-NCP and Sena which formed a post-poll alliance enjoys majority in the House.
As the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress prepared to form government with Uddhav Thackeray as chief minister, the BJP quietly worked behind the scenes to dramatically turn the tables with help from Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar, who was sworn in as deputy chief minister on Saturday. The alliance had challenged the decision of the Governor to invite the BJP to form government in the state.
While Sibal termed as “bizarre” the Governor’s decision to revoke President’s rule and anoint Fadnavis as the chief minister, Singhvi said it is a “murder of democracy”.
“If Devendra Fadnavis has numbers to prove majority, let him prove it on the floor of House, else we have numbers to form government in Maharashtra,” Sibal said.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for the BJP, questioned the maintainability of the writ petition filed by the combine, and said, they should have approached the Bombay High Court. Justice N V Ramana replied, “In this court, sky is the limit, anybody can ask for anything. Any person can ask to make him the Prime Minister.”
Rohatgi further said that the Governor’s decision to invite political party is not open to judicial review as it is his discretionary power. “What governor did yesterday is immune from any judicial review, choice of party is with him,” Rohatgi said.
He said Floor test is ultimate and 2-3 days time should be given to prove majority. Rohatgi submitted that even orders of Governor have not been filed and the plea filed by the combine is without any documents and annexures.
-with PTI inputs