Maharashtra Speaker Rahul Narwekar has defended his decision to not disqualify the members of the Uddhav Thackeray's group.
Narwekar clarified that although Bharat Gogawale was properly named as the party whip, there was ambiguity over whether the directive to attend the party meeting was "adequately and properly served" to the Thackeray faction's MLAs.
"It appears that this service is not complete. There was no evidence to show this whip was properly served upon the MLAs belonging to the Thackeray faction. Since this filter was not cleared, it was not appropriate for me, under the principles of natural justice, to hold them disqualified," Narwekar told NDTV in an interview.
This comes as Uddhav Thackray, while speaking to the media, had raised the question as to why, if their version of the constitution was not valid, they were not disqualified.
Narwekar, while ruling on disqualification petitions pending since June 2022, declared Eknath Shinde's group as the "real Shiv Sena", basing his decision on the party's 1999 constitution filed with the Election Commission.
He noted that the 2018 constitution version given by Thackeray is "not on record".
Going by that constitution, Uddhav Thackeray did not have the power to remove Eknath Shinde from Shiv Sena, he had added.
He had also dismissed the petitions to disqualify MLAs from both camps.
Narwekar added that skipping a party meeting is more about dissent than violation of rules and so does not call for disqualification. The right to dissent is included in the constitutional right of freedom of speech, he added.
Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!