Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde will get to keep his job despite gaining from an illegal decision by the then governor, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, in a setback for Uddhav Thackeray over last year’s Shiv Sena mutiny.
Here are the 10 latest developments in the case:
The Supreme Court said it cannot disqualify Mr Shinde and 15 other MLAs for revolting against then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in June last year. That power will rest with the speaker until a larger panel of judges rules on it.
It also rejected a request to restore Mr Thackeray’s government because the leader had chosen to resign instead of facing a test of strength in the assembly.
The court, however, strongly censured then Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, for taking decisions that helped Mr Shinde’s faction, saying he had “erred” in concluding that Mr Thackeray had lost the support of the majority of MLAs.
“The governor did not have any objective material and the exercise of discretion of the governor in this case was not in accordance with the law,” the court said.
Sanjay Raut, Mr Thackeray’s top aide, said, “The Supreme Court decision shows the present Maharashtra government is illegal. It is a moral victory for us.”
Mr Thackeray had asked the top court to step in after Mr Shinde, backed by the opposition BJP, split the Shiv Sena and led most of the MLAs to form a new government.
If Mr Shinde were disqualified, he would have had to resign as Maharashtra Chief Minister and his government will be disbanded.
The decision was delivered by a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud who clustered eight petitions on the face-off.
Senior lawyers Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued for Uddhav Thackeray’s team in the court while Harish Salve, Neeraj Kaul, and Mahesh Jethmalani represented Eknath Shinde’s camp.
Ruling on the tussle in February, the Election Commission had awarded the Shiv Sena party name and its bow-and-arrow symbol to Mr Shinde. Mr Thackeray’s smaller faction was given the name Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray and the symbol of a flaming torch.
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