New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that merely asking it to prove majority on the basis of difference of opinion among legislators in the ruling party can lead to the ouster of an elected government. The court also said that the governor of the state cannot allow his office to be used for this result. “It will be a shameful spectacle for democracy,” said a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud.
The bench made the remarks while hearing a petition on the political crisis that arose in Maharashtra in June 2022 following the rebellion led by Eknath Shinde in the undivided Shiv Sena last year. The bench made this observation after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared on behalf of the Governor of Maharashtra.
Mehta recounted the sequence of events and said the Governor had several materials at that time, including a letter signed by 34 Shiv Sena MLAs, independent MLAs withdrawing support to the then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray-led government and the Leader of Opposition in the House. sought to prove majority.
The then Governor of Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshyari then asked Thackeray to prove his majority in the House. Thackeray, however, resigned before the House could vote on the majority resolution, paving the way for Shinde to take oath as the new chief minister.
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The court said, “The basis of vote among the MLAs of the party could be anything like payment of development fund, deviating from the ideals of the party but can this ground be sufficient to ask the Governor to prove majority in the House? The Governor should not be allowed to use his office for a particular result. Asking to prove majority can lead to the removal of an elected government.”
The bench comprises Justice MR Shah, Justice Krishna Murari, Justice Hima Kohli and Justice PS Narasimha. The bench said that in this case the letter of the Leader of the Opposition does not matter as he will always say that the government has lost majority or the MLAs are angry. In this case, the letter by the legislators threatening life is also not relevant.
The court said, “The only thing is the resolution of 34 MLAs which shows that there is dissidence in the party cadre and MLAs… Is it enough to say enough to prove it? However, we can say that Uddhav Thackeray was defeated in numbers.” (agency)