Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar has said he would not delay the decision regarding the disqualification pleas against Shiv Sena MLAs but won’t rush in either which could result in the “miscarriage of justice”.
Mr. Narwekar was speaking to reporters on September 18 evening after the Supreme Court directed him to spell out the timeline within a week for adjudication of the disqualification petitions filed against Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Shiv Sena MLAs loyal to him.
“I am not aware of it [SC comments]. I am not interested in delaying this matter nor am I going to hurry which will result in a miscarriage of justice,” he said.
When asked about the Supreme Court’s remarks that “apparently nothing has been done so far despite its direction for deciding the pleas within a reasonable time”, the Speaker said a decision would be taken at the earliest possible time after complying with rules and constitutional provisions.
“I have not received the copy of the Supreme Court [order]. I am not aware of what transpired in the court. I am not aware of the contents of the order. I will be able to comment only after perusing the court order,” he said.
Mr. Narwekar said he would take a decision at the earliest possible opportunity.
“You can rest assured that a decision will be taken at the earliest possible time,” the Speaker added.
While refusing to divulge the number of disqualification petitions filed before him, Mr. Narwekar said, “I am doing everything in my capacity to ensure that the verdict is given at the earliest. Several petitions are pending before me.” While directing the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker on September 18 to spell out the timeline within a week for adjudication of the disqualification petitions, the bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said, “This cannot go on indefinitely. Tell us about the time schedule.”
The Supreme Court referred to its May 11 verdict on the Maharashtra political crisis and the direction it had issued to the Speaker to decide the disqualification petitions within a reasonable time.
The Uddhav Thackeray faction moved the apex court in July seeking direction to the State Assembly Speaker to expeditiously adjudicate the disqualification petitions in a time-bound manner.
The plea by Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) MLA Sunil Prabhu, who as the chief whip of the undivided Shiv Sena had filed the disqualification petitions against Mr. Shinde and other MLAs in 2022, alleged Speaker Rahul Narwekar is deliberately delaying the adjudication despite the verdict of the Supreme Court.
On May 11, the Supreme Court ruled that Mr. Shinde will continue to be the Chief Minister of Maharashtra as it cannot reinstate the MVA coalition government headed by Uddhav Thackeray since the Shiv Sena leader chose to resign without facing a floor test in the wake of a rebellion in his party.
Mr. Shinde, who led the rebellion against Mr. Thackeray, sparking a nine-day political crisis in June last year, later joined hands with the BJP to form a government.
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