A bench of Judges N V Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna heard the Shiv Sena, NCP & Congress petition challenging the Governor of Maharashtra and centre’s move to allow swearing-in of Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Ajit Pawar as his deputy.
Senior Congress leaders and advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi represented the petitioners, Mukul Rohatgi represented some BJP and independent MLAs while the center was represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta
Here are the top quotes from the arguments :
Hearing started on a lighter note by Kapil Sibal. He apologised to the Supreme Court for the hearing on a Sunday and added, “But we are not the only ones to blame.” He added, the Governor of Maharashtra as acted directly under orders of ‘a political party’.
Representing BJP, Mukul Rohatgi said that the government had been formed so there is no reason for the hearing now. To which the judges responded as follows :
Justice Bhushan: “That is the discretion of the CJI, Mr. Rohatgi.”
Justice Ramana: “We have been nominated to hear the case so it is our duty to do it.”
Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued, “how can Ajit Pawar be deputy CM when 41 NCP MLAs are with NCP and have said they don’t recognise him as NCP leader.” Advocate Mukul Rohatgi argued back, “for so many days they didn’t lift a little finger to form the government and now someone else has formed the government. ”
Mukul Rohatgi cited Article 361 and said that the Governor is not subject to judicial review. He said, “When governor chooses the chief minister, it is not open to judicial review. It is his individual discretion, not guided by the Cabinet.” To which Justice Ramana stated “These are all settled laws. The issue in the present case is regarding floor test. Governor cannot just appoint anyone.”
The SC bench noted that no one is disputing that floor test is best method to show majority, to which Rohatgi batted for 3 days’ time for the Bharatiya Janata Party to prove majority on the Floor of the House in Maharashtra. Supreme Court rejected the plea of BJP and told the party to come back with replies from all parties involved — Governor, Ajit Pawar, Devendra Fadnavis.
Advocate Rohatgi told the court: “The House respects the Court, Court must respect the House. They are individual organs, there is self-restraint. Tomorrow, can the legislature pass a legislation saying that the court must dispose of all cases in two years? Justice Ramana quipped back, “We won’t be surprised if such an order comes from them”