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‘Final opportunity’ to submit timeline to decide disqualification: SC tells Maha Speaker

‘Final opportunity’ to submit timeline to decide disqualification: SC tells Maha Speaker

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Speaker of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Rahul Narwekar to use a ‘final opportunity’ to supply a ‘realistic time schedule’ regarding the disposal of disqualification petitions related to Shiv Sena rift in the state, The Indian Express reported.

The fractious rift in Shiv Sena months before saw one section siding with the BJP to lead a coalition government. The peeved other sought legal means to disqualify the turncoats.

The bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud mentioned that Speaker’s role of ‘tribunal’ is amenable to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

The court was responding to Narwekar referring to the office of the Speaker as a ‘co-equal’ branch in interviews.

The court responded to Speaker after seeking time to supply the schedule, saying ‘He (Speaker) has to decide. He goes on to give interviews that we are a co-equal branch, the Supreme Court is supreme in its own way. He is not doing his job. He is amenable to the jurisdiction of this court. We are not controlling what is happening on the floor of the House there, the House is absolutely supreme. But he is a tribunal, hearing disqualification proceedings.’

Hearing a petition filed by Sena and NCP seeking ‘expedited disqualification proceedings, the apex court on October 13 asked the Speaker to give time-estimate for hearing the petitions, and expressed displeasure over ‘long schedule’.

The court also noted the two set of disqualification petitions that were filed: first in June and July last year, and the second related to NCP MLAs in July and September this year.

On May 11, the five-judge Constitution bench in its verdict on Sena case asked Speaker Narwekar to decide the petitions within a ‘reasonable period’, adding that it cannot ‘interfere in proceedings at the ‘first instance’.

The bench led by CJI Chandrachud said at the time that courts do not decide on disqualification “at the first instance” pleas unless only on ‘extraordinary circumstances’.

‘Disqualification petitions have to be adjudicated upon with all expeditions. Otherwise the very purpose of the Tenth Schedule shall stand defeated,’ the bench on Tuesday said.

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