SC to hear pleas of Anil Deshmukh, Malik seeking permission to vote in Maha floor test

Jailed Maharashtra MLAs Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik moved the Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking permission to vote when the floor test takes place in Maharashtra Assembly. The top court has agreed to hear their petitions.

Advocate Sudhanshu S. Choudhari, representing Deshmukh and Malik, mentioned the matter before a vacation bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and J.B. Pardiwala. He submitted that the plea is regarding permission for his clients to vote when the floor test takes place in Maharashtra assembly. The bench agreed to hear the plea later in the day.

Earlier during the day, Shiv Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu moved the Supreme Court challenging the Maharashtra Governor’s direction to the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to take a floor test and prove its majority in the House on Thursday (June 30). The court agreed to hear the case at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Senior Adv Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi mentioned Prabhu’s plea before the top court. He said the matter involves “illegal floor test” and urged the court to list it urgently. Singhvi said floor test is illegal as it cannot include persons facing disqualification. “I am only requesting for a listing today evening. Otherwise, matter will become infructuous…”, he said.

He added that the notice for floor test came today morning and that they will make sure that filing is done by 4 p.m. Justice Kant said, “unless you give a paper book to us, how do we know…”.

Senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for the Eknath Shinde’s faction, opposed the plea for a hearing and said disqualification proceedings have nothing to do with the floor test. Singhvi insisted that the plea should be heard on Wednesday. Kaul said calling for the floor test is the prerogative of the Governor, and the pendency of a disqualification application has nothing to do with floor test.

Justice Kant told Singhvi that the court will hear the matter today at 5 p.m… “Whatever may be the outcome…we will hear the matter today,” said Justice Kant.

The bench asked Singhvi to circulate the paperbook to all the parties involved in the matter and the court by 3 p.m. Justice Kant said, “We will keep the case at 5 p.m..”.

The Special Maharashtra Assembly will be convened at 11 a.m. and will end at 5 p.m. Thursday. The day’s proceedings shall be video-graphed and telecast live, with provisions for adequate security both inside and outside the legislature, the Governor has directed.

A 3-page letter to the effect was issued to the Maharashtra Legislature Secretary by the Raj Bhavan late on Tuesday — soon after a delegation of the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) met the Governor and urged him for immediate directions to the MVA to prove its majority.

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