The Supreme Court’s five judge-bench headed by CJI DY Chandrachud concluded the hearings in the Sena vs Sena petitions on Thursday (March 16).
The batch of cross-petitions of Uddhav Thackeray and CM Eknath Shinde factions were filed during the Maharashtra political crisis.
On the last day of hearing on Thursday, the court orally remarked on the 'partisan' role played by former Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari during the fall of Uddhav Thackeray’s Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in July 2022.
What the court said: The court slammed former Governor Koshyari for playing a partisan role in the fracas between Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde. The SC said that the strife within the Shiv Sena was “an internal discipline matter and not for the Governor to interfere.”
Why the court slammed Koshyari: The SC said that the Governor Koshiyari showed haste in calling for a floor test after 39 Shiv Sena MLAs rebelled against the Uddhav Thackeray’s government.
“The governor should have been conscious that by asking Thackeray to face a trust vote, it could precipitate toppling of the government," SC said.
Uddhav Thackeray sensing that he stood no chance of winning he floor test, resigned on June 29, 2022, and MVA government fell.
The SC said Governor Koshyari's move was not valid and instead it showed a biased attitude towards the Eknath Shinde faction.
Can Uddhav Thackeray be reinstated as CM? Though the SC might have slammed Governor Koshyari for playing a partisan role, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the court will reinstate Uddhav Thackeray as the CM of Maharashtra.
The reason, according to the court, is that Uddhav Thackeray resigned and was not removed after the floor test.
"How can the court reinstate a CM who did not even face a trust vote," Justice MR Shah said to Uddhav Thackeray’s legal counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
Further, CJI Chandrachud said the logical thing for Uddhav Thackeray to do was to face the trust vote. That would have ascertained how the Shinde faction with 39 rebel MLAs play inside the House.
"You chose not to face the trust vote as you knew you didn't have the numbers," CJI Chandrachud said.
So, the reinstatement of Uddhav Thackeray as CM of Maharashtra is most likely not going to happen.
However, Uddhav Thackeray still remains hopeful of a favourable judgment from the SC especially after the court's remarks on former Governor Koshyari. In a meeting with MVA parties (Nationalist Congress Party, Shiv Sena (UBT) and Congress), Uddhav called the Supreme Court its only ray of hope at the moment.