Shiv Sena row: Supreme Court discontent with the Governor’s role, ECI declared a functus-officio

The Supreme Court berated the ex-Maharashtra governor's action to call for a floor test which led to the fall of the MVA government.

Fourteen opposition parties moved to the Supreme Court alleging the misuse of the federal agencies by the BJP.

The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, March 15th, expressed its concern over ex-Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s actions in calling for a floor test which led to the fall of Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, Bar and Bench reported. 

A constitution bench of the SC comprising the Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justices Hima Kohli, MR Shah, Krishna Murari and PS Narasimha opined that the governors are not above the constitution and they cannot use their constitutional office to call for a trust vote citing dissension within a ruling political party.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the SC berated the ex-Maharashtra governor’s action to call for the floor test and said that the use of his power to precipitate the fall of an elected government is very serious for the Indian democracy especially when the government already established its majority in the assembly and was a functioning government.   

The SC’s observation came during the hearing of the concatenated case of the internal strife of the Shiv Sena. Earlier, on February 20th, the former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray moved to the SC, seeking to stay the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) decision to recognise the Eknath Shinde faction as the real Shiv Sena.

Notably, the rift within the Shiv Sena began on June 21st, 2022, when the Shinde faction dissociated itself from the Thackeray faction alleging that the latter defied the party constitution, which eventually triggered this protracted face-off between the two.

The ECI, on the other hand, on Wednesday, told the SC in an affidavit that its February 17th decision to allot the Shiv Sena name and symbol to the Shinde faction was within the ambit of its quasi-judicial authority. The quasi-judicial body also added that it became a functus-officio (already discharged its duty) for the present case and need not be made a party to Thackeray’s petition anymore.

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