New Delhi, Nov 12 : The Shiv Sena on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court against the Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s decision not to extend the 24 hour time period given to the party to prove its number on the floor to form the government.
The Sena, which has emerged as the second-largest party with 56 seats in the 288-member Assembly, said that it was constrained to move the top court seeking urgent relief against the “arbitrary and malafide actions” of the Governor.
The party sought quashing of the order of the Governor and declaring the action “unconstitutional, arbitrary, illegal, void-ab-initio, and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India”.
Also raising questions on the Governor’s behaviour, it said that he cannot act in such a manner or act on the diktats of the Central Government.
The Sena was invited by the Governor when the single-largest party BJP, which won 105 seats, said that it cannot form a government.
It told the court that the Governor was in “hot haste” as he refused to grant even three days’ time to prove the requisite majority to form the government.
“The impugned actions/decisions of the Governor is violative of Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution. It is ex facie arbitrary, unreasonable, capricious and a malafide exercise of the power in order to ensure that the Petitioner No. 1 (Shiv Sena) is precluded from getting a fair and reasonable opportunity of proving its majority on the floor of the House,” the petition filed through senior advocate Kapil Sibal, lawyers Sunil Fernandes and Nizam Pasha said.
According to the petition, Shiv Sena had requested three days time to give the letters of support to demonstrate that it has the requisite majority to form the government on the same day when it has staked claim to form the government.
The Sena said that the party was in advanced talks for government formation with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) as well as the Congress.
In its petition, the Sena also mentioned the step taken by the party including party MP Sanjay Raut meeting NCP chief Sharad Pawar and said that these talks have been in a positive direction. The party also mentioned resignation of Arvind Sawant, the sole Union Minister from the Shiv Sena in the NDA government, from the Union Cabinet on November 11.
It also informed the court about Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s telephonic conversation with the Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi.
Sena also said that the party has got the support of eight independent MLAs – Narendra Bondekar, Manjula Gavith, Shankar Rao Gadak, Chandrakanth Patil, Ashish Jaiswal, Bachhukadu, Rajkumar Patel and Rajendra Patel Vadraokar.
It pleaded with the court to intervene and direct the Governor to grant reasonable time to the party to prima facie demonstrate the requisite support to form the Government.
The Sena said that the Governor, as per the law, ought to have invited the party to form Government and directed it to prove its majority on the floor of the house.
“…the factum of the majority cannot be decided by the Hon’ble Governor in his own ipsi dixit (an unsupported statement that rests solely on the authority of the individual who makes it) and the floor of the House is the only ‘constitutionally ordained forum’ to the test majority,” the plea said.
Asserting that the government formation is a sacrosanct political process in a democracy and Governor cannot act as a stumbling block for thwarting a political party from forming the government, the party said: “As per the constitutional conventions and practices, the Governor is duty-bound to allow reasonable time for political parties to conclude their negotiation on government formation and not act as an agent/mouthpiece of the Central Government and/or the Ruling party at the Centre.”
The party also cited the example of ninth General Elections, when no party secured an absolute majority and the President invited the largest party (Congress) to form the Government. when the largest party declined the offer, the leader of the next largest party (Janata Dal) was invited and subsequently a minority Government at the Centre was formed with the outside support of other parties.