In the context of the fight for Shiv Sena’s legacy, the Supreme Court took a strong stand against the culture of interference by the governors in the politics of the state.
On March 15, 2024, the Supreme Court of India minced no words and expressed, in strong language, its serious concern over the active involvement of governors of the state in the politics of state.
The Supreme Court said it’s very disconcerting that governors, a constitutional post, are getting themselves involved in the political maneuvering of political processes and, in some cases, actively facilitating the fall of elected governments.
Whose “Sena” is legitimate?
On March 15, 2024, the Supreme Court heard the Shiv Sena symbol case, in which Eknath Shinde and Uddhav Thakre locked horns over the awarding of the Shiv Sena symbol and name to Eknath Shinde.
Eknath Shinde led a faction that defected from the Uddhav-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government and joined hands with the BJP to form the government in Maharashtra.
The Election Commission of India awarded the Shiv Sena symbol and name to the Eknath Shinde faction.
Aya Ram, Gaya Ram
Quoting the popular defection reference, Kapil Sibal stressed that democracy is not the game of numbers; political affiliation matters.
Wisdom in calling the trust vote
On June 30, 2022, Maharashtra Governor B.S. Koshiyari asked the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thakre, to face a trust vote on the floor of the house, as there was an open rebellion in his party. The rebellion was led by the present CM of Maharashtra, Eknath Shinde.
The Chief Justice of India, while hearing the argument, questioned the judgment and wisdom of the Governor for asking Uddhav Thakre’s government to prove majority. CJI D.Y. Chandrachud observed that the governor should have been conscious of the fact that by asking Uddhav Thackeray’s government to face the trust vote, a constitutional requirement, it could consequently result in the fall of government.
Clarifying his position, the CJI stated he is not questioning the constitutional power and mandate of the governor of a state to ask the CM to face a trust vote on the floor of the House, but he is cautioning that the governor could not be part of such a political process that could ultimately result in the toppling of an elected government.
Appearing for the former Governor of Maharashtra, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought to counter the premise of the bench that the Governor facilitated the fall of an elected government led by Mr. Thackeray.
A “Happy marriage”
The bench showed discomfort over the fact that political allegiance and ideological commitment have been relegated, and the MLA shows no hesitation in ditching the parties on whose tickets they got elected.
The bench asked if MLAs were part of the “happy coalition marriage” of NCP-Sena-Cong for three years, then what spoiled this “happy marriage”?