The Supreme Court will on Thursday pronounce its judgment on the political crisis in Maharashtra in connection with the rebellion by Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde and other MLAs, leading to the fall of Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by Uddhav Thackeray.
On March 16, the court, after hearing submissions for nine days, reserved its judgment on a batch of cross-petitions of the groups headed by Uddhav Thackeray and Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in connection with the issue.
An announcement regarding the judgment was made by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Wednesday during the hearing on pleas related to legal sanction to same sex marriage.
On March 16, a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Chandrachud and comprising Justices M.R. Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and P.S. Narasimha, before reserving the verdict, shot a volley of questions at senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the Thackeray group.
The Chief Justice asked Singhvi: "So, really the question is whether there was a valid exercise of power by the Governor to call for a trust vote? And what happens, if we come to a conclusion that there was no valid exercise of power by the Governor to call for a trust vote?"
As Singhvi said everything falls, the bench said that everything falls on would be simple. Singhvi stressed that is the core question and urged the court to allow him to present his case.
The Chief Justice further queried: "Then, according to you, what, we reinstate the Uddhav Thackeray government? But you resigned." Singhvi said Thackeray's resignation and not facing the trust vote is irrelevant.
The Chief Justice observed: "That is, the court being told to reinstate a government (which has resigned)." Singhvi said that it is a plausible way of looking at it but it is irrelevant, and asked the bench to give him an opportunity to explain his contention.
At this juncture, Justice Shah said: "How can the court reinstate a Chief Minister who did not even face floor test?" Singhvi said the court is not reinstating anyone but it is restoring the status quo ante.
The Chief Justice further queried Singhvi, "But, it would have been a logical thing to do provided you had lost the trust vote on the floor of the Assembly. Clearly, then you would have been ousted from power due to a trust vote, which is set aside... look at the intellectual conundrum that it is not that you have been ousted from power as a result of a trust vote which was wrongly summoned by the Governor. You chose not to, whatever reason you did not face the trust vote."
The Thackeray group was represented by senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Singhvi, Devadatt Kamat, and advocate Amit Anand Tiwari.
Shinde group was represented by senior advocates Neeraj Kishan Kaul, Harish Salve, Mahesh Jethmalani and advocate Abhikalp Pratap Singh for the Shinde-led group. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta represented the office of the Governor in the matter. The hearing in the matter commenced on February 21.
On June 29, 2022, the apex court refused to stay the Governor's direction to the Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by Thackeray to take floor test, who resigned sensing defeat. It paved the way for the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance led by Shinde to come to power in Maharashtra.