The Supreme Court has granted interim relief to rebel Shiv Sena MLAs.
Context: Shiv Sena MLA and minister Eknath Shinde on 26 June had moved the Supreme Court against the disqualification notice issued by the Deputy Speaker to him and 15 other dissident legislators.
The Maharashtra legislature secretariat on 25 June had issued 'summons' to the rebel Sena MLAs, seeking written replies by the evening of 27 June to complaints seeking their disqualification.
Shinde and others sought a stay, calling the disqualification proceedings initiated against them “illegal and unconstitutional.”
The petition also said that the MVA alliance has lost the majority in the house.
Further, it said the Deputy Speaker cannot disqualify any member under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution with a resolution on the Deputy Speaker’s removal still pending.
The dissident MLAs’ pleas were heard today (27 June).
The apex court extended the time for rebel MLAs to reply to their disqualification notice in the Maharashtra legislature until 5.30 pm on 12 July instead of 5.30 pm today.
It sought responses to pleas by rebel MLAs questioning the legality of disqualification notices sent to them.
The court also turned down an oral plea for an interim order against a floor test in the Maharashtra legislative assembly.
In response to a separate plea that there was a “serious threat” to the rebels, the court directed the Maharashtra government to protect the life, liberty, and property of 39 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs and their family members.
Back to basics: Shinde and many MLAs rebelled against the leadership of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on 21 June.
They demand that the Sena withdraw from the MVA alliance, made up of the Sena, Congress, and NCP.
Shinde is an MLA from Kopri-Pachpakhadi constituency of Thane.
The Shinde camp claims to have the support of over two-thirds of Sena MLAs.
The rebels are currently in Guwahati, Assam.
More recently: Thackeray stripped nine rebel ministers of their portfolios. The portfolios of these ministers have been handed over to other ministers in the Thackeray-led government for ease of administration, as per an official statement.
What next? Rebels are rejoicing. Shinde has called the SC order a “victory of Balasaheb Thackeray’s Hindutva.”
The matter will next be heard in the apex court on 11 July.
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