SC directs Maha assembly speaker to decide disqualification petitions by December 31

New Delhi:¬†Observing that the sanctity of the 10th schedule of the Constitution should be maintained, the Supreme Court on Monday directed Maharashtra assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar to decide the cross-petitions filed by the rival factions of the Shiv Sena seeking disqualification of each other’s MLAs on or before December 31.

A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said procedural wranglings should not be permitted to delay disqualification petitions.

“We are concerned that the sanctity of the tenth schedule must be maintained. Otherwise, we are throwing these provisions to the wind,” it said.

The tenth schedule is designed to prevent political defections.

“The procedural wranglings should not be permitted to delay the petitions. We direct that proceedings shall be concluded and directions passed by December 31, 2023,” the bench also comprising Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said.

The apex court had earlier come down hard on the speaker over the delay in deciding the pleas filed by the Uddhav Thackeray faction for the disqualification of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and several MLAs loyal to him, saying the speaker cannot defeat the orders of the top court.

Similar disqualification petitions have also been filed by the Shinde bloc against lawmakers owing allegiance to Thackeray.

On September 18, the top court had directed the speaker to spell out the timeline for adjudication of the petitions.