Thackeray's unilateral salvo created Maharashtra political crisis, says CM's lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani

March 15,2023

Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani has accused former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray of creating a political crisis in the state with his unilateral salvo to remove Eknath Shinde as the leader of the Shiv Sena Legislature Party on June 21 last year and called a legislature party meeting the same evening.

Appearing for the Shinde group, he said the incumbent CM only responded by writing a letter to the governor and then-deputy speaker on 34 MLAs losing trust in Thackeray.

He also elaborated how the deemed disqualification of the chief whip and the deputy speaker and asserted that it was the party leadership that precipitated the crisis in the party.

The hearing was extended till Wednesday as the constitutional bench headed by CJI Chandrachud could not hear the arguments of SG Tushar Mehta, who's representing then governor of Maharashtra- Bhagat Singh Koshyari. After hearing SG Mehta for the governor, a rejoinder by senior advocate Kapil Sibbal, who's representing Thackeray, would be heard by the constitutional bench.

Jethmalani pinpoints the loopholes

The Thackeray's demanded for a 7-judge bench to decide the matter since a 5-judge Bench cannot overrule another 5-judge ruling in Nabam Rebia case of Arunachal Pradesh, Jethmalani said the question did not arise since the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution the powers to the Speaker.

Earlier, senior advocate N K Kaul, also appearing for Chief Minister Shinde, said the rival arguments of the party being different from the legislature party are false since both are genetically connected. He said the Governor had no option left after Thackeray resigned as the CM on the top court rejecting his plea against the governor asking him to take confidence vote and he invited Shinde to take oath when he staked a claim.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, also for Shinde, concluded his arguments, warning the court not to embark on the political journey in the case without any destination in picture. He said the governor was not wrong in inviting Shinde to form the government and he proved his majority in the Assembly by winning the confidence vote.