Koshyari’s 'hoshiyari': Shinde to remain as CM but SC deems Guv Koshyari’s decision unlawfultext_fields
New Delhi: The Supreme Court today ruled that the decision of former Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to call for a floor test that led to the removal of the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government was unlawful, but also upheld that Uddhav Thackeray, the Shiv Sena (UBT) leader, cannot be reinstated as Chief Minister since he voluntarily resigned without facing a floor test.
The court was dealing with the issue of disqualification of 16 MLAs belonging to CM Eknath Shinde Sena. The 16 MLAs, including Shinde, were sent disqualification notices for not attending a party meeting convened by the then CM Uddhav Thackeray despite the whip which was issued.
In July, when Shinde sought a trust vote on the floor of the state legislative assembly, the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena combine got the support of 164 out of a total of 288 MLAs and became the chief minister.
The court highlighted several key points in its verdict. It said that the issue of whether a motion for the Speaker’s removal would restrict his powers to issue disqualification notices needs examination.
It also ruled that the Speaker’s decision to appoint Bharat Gogawale of the Shinde faction as the whip of the Shiv Sena party was illegal. The court further pointed out that the Speaker must recognize only the whip appointed by the political party and that if the Speaker and government circumvent a no-confidence motion, the governor will be justified in calling for a floor test.
The court also ruled that the resolution relied on by the governor did not indicate that the MLAs wanted to withdraw support, and there was no material to call for a floor test. The Governor erred in relying on the resolution of the faction of MLAs of Shiv Sena to conclude that Uddhav Thackeray had lost his majority. The court clarified that the status quo ante cannot be ordered by restoring the MVA government as the then CM Uddhav Thackeray did not face a floor test.
Reacting to the verdict, Shiv Sena UBT president Uddhav Thackeray said that Eknath Shinde and the illegal government should resign on the issue of morality. He added that those who betrayed him were the ones subjecting him to a trust vote and that he could not have allowed this.
The National Congress Party (NCP) state president Jayant Patil said that the Supreme Court's decision exposed how every step of the governor was illegal and how the Shinde government was illegally formed.
Shiv Sena MP Rahul Ramesh Shewale welcomed the decision, saying that the court has given rights to the speaker on disqualification and appointment of the chief whip and that the speaker will consider which is a political party and then take a decision on it.
It may also be recalled in the context that the Governor's overzealous step had been used by the Congress and other critics that Koshyari was showing Hoshiyari (meaning cleverness in Hindi) in his action.
Overall, the Supreme Court's verdict has highlighted several important issues related to the powers of the Speaker, the governor, and political parties in the state of Maharashtra. It remains to be seen how these issues will be resolved in the future.