Sena vs Sena: Hearing on disqualification pleas to begin on Oct 13; Shinde group opposes clubbing petitions


After considering arguments presented by Shiv Sena factions led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray, Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar has scheduled an official hearing on disqualification petitions against the Shinde group’s MLAs for October 13. Advocate Anil Sakhare, who represents the CM, confirmed this development. The split within the Shiv Sena transpired in June the previous year when Shinde led a rebellion that ousted the Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government. The Thackeray faction subsequently sought the disqualification of numerous MLAs, including Shinde, under anti-defection laws.
Sakhare, addressing reporters at Vidhan Bhavan, stated, “Speaker Narwekar heard our arguments, as we are opposed to the consolidation of all petitions presented to him. We insist on conducting independent hearings for these petitions.” He added, “The Speaker might announce the hearing schedule in the next few days. The first hearing will begin on October 13. Official discussions will occur concerning whether the hearings should be consolidated or conducted separately.”
He clarified that there was no official hearing held during the day, and only procedural aspects were decided. Responding to an inquiry, Sakhare explained that the Thackeray faction seeks to consolidate all petitions and conduct a collective hearing, while the Shinde group opposes this proposal. Sakhare informed that disqualification petitions have been filed against 39 MLAs.
Following the Shiv Sena split, the party name and symbol were assigned to the Shinde group, while the Thackeray-led faction was named Shiv Sena (UBT). In contrast, Shiv Sena (UBT) Rajya Sabha MP Anil Desai informed reporters that his faction opposes the Shinde group’s request to introduce evidence and independently review all petitions.
He stressed, “Our legal counsel informed Speaker Narwekar that there is no need for independent hearings, as the issue concerns a group of MLAs from the Shinde faction who failed to adhere to party directives. This matter falls solely under the purview of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution.”
Desai noted, “As they did not attend any meetings called by party leader Uddhav Thackeray, they are in violation of Schedule 10, 2.1 (a) and 2.1(b).
The Speaker should only decide on this. Uddhav Thackeray, as Shiv Sena chief, had invited party MLAs for a meeting on June 21, which the MLAs now facing disqualification did not attend, and none of them have denied their non-attendance.”
Desai also highlighted that the party chief whip, Sunil Prabhu, had issued the whip, and the Supreme Court acknowledged the legitimacy of Prabhu’s whip. “Since those MLAs violated Prabhu’s whip, they are in direct violation of Schedule 10, 2.1(b), and disqualification is applicable. As per the Supreme Court’s expectations, the Speaker must decide on this matter without requiring additional evidence,” Desai affirmed.
He expressed his request for the Speaker not to prolong the issue. However, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut alleged that Narwekar was “under pressure” from the Union government. He suggested, “We are not pressuring him, but Delhi (Centre) is. Had there been no pressure on him, the 16 MLAs, along with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, would have already been disqualified.”
Raut also criticized the Speaker, implying that his political affiliations might be influencing his decisions.