Pressuring Speaker won’t be compatible with our free and fair legal process, Fadnavis

Nagpur: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday said that Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar will take the decision on the disqualification of MLAs and other issues at an appropriate time and if anyone tries to pressure him in any way, then it won’t be compatible with the country’s free and fair legal process.

Fadnavis was speaking to reporters at Nagpur airport, a day after the Supreme Court gave its verdict on last year’s political crisis that led to the collapse of the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government following a rebellion by Eknath Shinde. Later, Shinde joined hands with the BJP to become the chief minister, with Fadnavis becoming his deputy.

To a question about Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray hinting that they might approach the SC if a decision on the disqualification of 16 rebel MLAs is not taken within a month, Fadnavis said the SC has given all such rights to the Speaker and given him reasonable time as well.

If anyone tries to pressure the Speaker in any way, then it won’t be compatible with our free and fair legal process. I don’t think the Speaker will give in to any kind of pressure. Besides, the Speaker himself is a very good lawyer. I’m sure the Speaker will take a decision as per the law, Constitution and the directives of the Supreme Court by giving appropriate hearing and at an appropriate time, he said.

To a query on NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s remark on Thursday that BJP and morality are contradictory terms, Fadnavis asked, Does Pawar Saheb have any relationship with morality? Now, if Pawar Saheb decides to teach morality to BJP, then one will have to go back to history. It starts from how Vasantdada’s (ex-CM Vasantdada Patil) government was brought down. He is a senior leader and they keep commenting. We don’t have to pay attention to it.

Speaking to reporters in Mumbai earlier in the day, Thackeray demanded that Speaker Narwekar take a decision on the disqualification of 16 MLAs at the earliest.

In its verdict on the Sena battle, the Supreme Court on Thursday held that it cannot restore the MVA government led by Thackeray as he resigned without facing a floor test in June last year. It has asked the Speaker to decide on the disqualification of 16 MLAs within a “reasonable period”.

The court also said the decision of the Speaker to appoint Bharat Gogawale of the Shinde faction as the whip of the Shiv Sena in the Assembly was contrary to law.