The job of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his government will be on the line when the Supreme Court announces a very important verdict on last year’s Shiv Sena mutiny on Thursday.
Here’s what you need to know about the case:
The Supreme Court will decide whether Mr Shinde and 15 other MPs should be disqualified for rebelling against then-Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in June last year.
Mr Thackeray had asked the highest court to intervene after Mr Shinde, backed by the opposition BJP, split the Shiv Sena and led most MPs to form a new government.
If Mr. Shinde is disqualified, he will have to resign as chief minister of Maharashtra and his government will be dissolved.
Whichever side has the greater number – a volatile equation depending on whether MPs on each side switch sides – will then claim a new government.
The decision depends on a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud who consolidated eight petitions during the confrontation.
Senior lawyers Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued for Uddhav Thackeray’s team in court while Harish Salve, Neeraj Kaul and Mahesh Jethmalani represented Eknath Shinde’s side.
A day before the verdict, Maharashtra BJP leader Chandrashekhar Bawankule claimed the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP alliance had over 184 votes in the 288-member assembly and could prove its majority if needed.
Arvind Sawant, a Shiv Sena MP from Uddhav Thackeray, said: “This is a fight to save the constitution and democracy. The law is with us.
Before hearings in the case ended in March, the court asked Mr Singhvi to explain how Mr Thackeray’s government could be reinstated when he resigned as chief minister instead of facing to a vote at the meeting.
Ruling on the brawl in February, the Elections Commission attributed the party’s name Shiv Sena and its bow and arrow symbol to Mr Shinde. Mr. Thackeray’s small faction was given the name Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray and the symbol of a flaming torch.
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