Sunil Prabhu, a Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) MLA from Mumbai, accused Maharashtra Speaker Rahul Narvekar of employing an unjust method during the cross-examination concerning disqualification petitions submitted by Shiv Sena MLAs, India Today reported.
Prabhu has submitted a written complaint to the Maharashtra speaker, stating that despite the commencement of his cross-examination, he has not yet received any evidence affidavits from the Eknath Shinde group of the party. Hearings on the disqualification petitions is ongoing in the assembly.
The Shinde faction was given additional time by the Speaker to submit their affidavits. However, this was seen as an unfair advantage by the UBT group. They alleged that the Speaker was following an "unfair procedure", which they claimed was causing significant bias against them.
Rahul Narvekar, the speaker of Maharashtra, initiated the cross-examination of UBT MLAs on 21 November. Lawyers for the Shiv Sena, led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, questioned Prabhu, the party's chief whip in the Legislative Assembly, and his statement was documented. The cross-examination process is set to proceed throughout this week.
Prabhu highlighted that the Speaker, on 2 November had allowed both factions of the Shiv Sena to submit their list of witnesses and evidence affidavits by 18 November. The case was scheduled for cross-examination to begin on 21 November.
The UBT faction submitted their list of witnesses and the primary evidence affidavit from the deponent on 18 November. An affidavit from one witness was submitted on 19 November by the UBT faction, explaining that the witness had to journey from Pune to Mumbai for the purpose.
Prabhu highlighted that although Eknath Shinde's group, the respondents, have submitted their list of witnesses, they have not filed any affidavits in evidence. Furthermore, no request for a time extension has been served to the deponent or his lawyer up to this point.
At the Tuesday hearing, the speaker announced that he had gotten a request from the Shinde group asking for additional time to submit evidence affidavits, which he had allowed. Despite Prabhu's attorney objecting to this extension, they also proceeded to submit a written affidavit.
"Under these conditions, I am formally recording my significant opposition to the method utilised by the Speaker in accommodating the Respondent group's request for extended time to submit evidence affidavits. The approach taken is unjust and infringes on the tenets of natural justice, putting the petitioner group at a disadvantage. The evidence from the deponent has already been submitted, and cross-examination has commenced," Prabhu stated.
The affidavit, which spans two pages, declared, "The petitioner's group is facing significant prejudice because of the ridiculous circumstances resulting from the unfair process being utilised."
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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