Supreme Court refuses immediate reconsideration of its 2016 Nabam Rebia verdict, lists matter for February 21 to hear merits
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to immediately send its 2016 Nabam Rebia verdict that had restrained a Speaker, facing a notice on motion for his removal from deciding disqualification petitions against MLAs under the anti-defection law, for reconsideration to a seven-Judge Bench.
The five-judge Constitution Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice M.R. Shah, Justice Krishna Murari, Justice Hima Kohli and Justice P.S. Narasimha observed that the question of referring the 2016 Nabam Rebia verdict to a larger Bench could not be decided in an abstract manner, isolated and divorced from the facts of the case.
It said the Apex Court would first hear the merits of the matter and then decide on referring the same to a larger bench.
The Constitution Bench passed the order on a batch of petitions, which were filed by two rival factions of the Shiv Sena party, led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, respectively.
In July, 2022, Maharashtra was plunged into a political crisis, after a change in the state government led to split in the erstwhile Shiv Sena party.
A petition filed by the Uddhav camp had urged the Apex Court to revisit the correctness of the judgment in Nabam Rebia vs Deputy Speaker (2016).
In Nabam Rebia case, then Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice Deepak Misra had ruled that the Speaker cannot decide disqualification petitions under the anti-defection law (10th schedule of the Constitution), if a notice under Article 179(c) of the Constitution for removal was pending.
However, Justice M.B. Lokur in his verdict, had observed that this point did not arise in the case.
The Constitution Bench today observed that it has to be ascertained from the facts of the case whether the principles of Nabam Rebia were attracted in the instant case and fixed the matter for further hearing on February 21.
The Apex Court had conducted consecutive hearings on the matter for three days and reserved its verdict on Thursday.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Bench had observed that the Governor of a State should not have a say in the formation of the government. The top court of the country had said that when a government was formed, the Governor was asked to give a trust vote, but he should abstain from entering the political arena.