The Supreme Court on Sunday, November 24, directed the Bharatiya Janata Party to produce the letters of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis claiming a majority and of the Governor inviting to form the government.
The apex court was hearing a plea filed by Shiv Sena-Congress-Nationalist Congress Party against Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's "arbitrary, malafide actions/decisions" of inviting BJP's Devendra Fadnavis to form government in the state on Saturday.
The three parties are seeking a floor test within 24 hours to avoid horse-trading and "illegal manoeuvres". A three-member bench, comprising Justice NV Ramana, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, will hear the petition.
The month-long political impasse in Maharashtra ended dramatically on Saturday after Devendra Fadnavis took oath as the CM, backed by the NCP's Ajit Pawar, who was sworn in as the deputy CM. Governor Koshyari had administered the oath at the Raj Bhavan at around 7.30 am. President's Rule, which was imposed in Maharashtra on November 12, was also revoked.
The move came hours after the Sena-Congress-NCP alliance had reached a consensus to install Uddhav Thackeray as the CM. After Ajit Pawar changed sides, NCP chief Sharad Pawar clarified that his nephew's decision to back BJP was his personal choice and not that of the party.
Ajit Pawar was removed as the party's legislature unit head later in the day, saying his move was not in line with the party's policies. The decision was taken at the meeting of the party's legislators, where 49 of its 54 MLAs were present.
Here are the Live updates of today's proceedings:
NCP's Daulat Daroda says 'no question of changing party'
NCP MLA Daulat Daroda, for whom a missing person's complaint was filed said that he is safe. "I have come after winning the election on the clock symbol (NCP), so there's no question of changing the party. Whatever decision Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar take, I am with that. Don't believe in any rumours," he said.
Notices issued to Devendra Fadnavis, Ajit Pawar
The Supreme Court issued notices to Devendra Fadnavis, Ajit Pawar, Union of India and State of Maharashtra.
BREAKING | SC orders Tushar Mehta to produce the two letters
Supreme Court directs SG Tushar Mehta to produce the two letters - one by Governor inviting BJP to form govt, and second the letter of support placed by Fadnavis tomorrow.
Appropriate orders will be passed by the Court at 10.30 am on Monday, reported Bar and Bench.
Governor is not an inferior post to the Court
"The Governor is not an inferior post to the Court that he can be directed to do all this. I submit that notice should be issued and we should be allowed to spend rest of our Sunday in peace," Rohatgi said, concluding his arguments.
We should be given 2-3 days notice: Rohatgi
"If the Lordships are inclined, then we should be given notice and time to file replies within 2-3 days," said Rohatgi.
Can the court direct Governor to conduct floor test?
"My real question is only one - whether this Court should or can direct the Governor to conduct floor test?" asked Mukul Rohatgi in SC.
Governor's decision is not open for judicial review
"Now see Article 361, the President or Governor shall not be answerable to any court," said Rohatgi in SC.
Governor was shown satisfaction of MLAs, says Mukul Rohatgi
"On hand, you say public wants a government. Other hand you say government formation was wrong. You did not do anything for so many days. Governor was shown satisfaction of MLAs. He formed a government," said Mukul Rohatgi.
Floor test does not require any notice: Singhvi
"Governor is not a party. He's not a party in the entire compilation. A floor test is a constitutional obligation of democracy. This does not require any notice or counter," Singhvi said concluding his arguments.
Shiv Sena MLAs meet Congress leaders
Shiv Sena MLAs Subhash Desai, Vinayak Raut and Pratap Sarnaik meet Congress MLAs at JW Marriott Hotel in Mumbai.
How can Ajit Pawar continue as Deputy CM, questions Abhishek Manu Singhvi
"We decided that Mr Ajit Pawar is not the legislative party leader. How can he continue as Dy CM if he doesn't have the strength of his own party?" Abhishek Manu Singhvi asked in SC.
There was no reason for a Sunday hearing, said SG Mukul Rohatgi
Appearing for BJP and some independent candidates, Rohatgi said: "The Govt has been formed for now so there is no reason for this Sunday hearing."
Allow us to form govt if they don't have majority, says Kapil Sibal
"If they have majority, let them display. If they don't have it, allow us to form government," said Sibal.
Floor test should be conducted today
Kapil Sibal demanded the floor test to be conducted on Sunday. "Only thing to do today is if they believe they have the numbers, majority and can prove their support, they should be directed to conduct floor test today itself," said Sibal in SC.
The act of governor smacks of bias: Sibal
"It appears that the Governor is acting directly under the orders of a political party. The act of Governor smacks of bias," said Sibal.
Revoking president's rule is contrary to norms issued by SC
"How much time did they give to BJP, that's also known to anyone. The act of revoking president's rule is mala fide and contrary to norms issued by this court from time to time," said Sibal.
Kapil Sibal presenting development in Maharashtra
"At 8 am, a government was sworn in with Fadnavis as CM and Ajit Pawar. Whether the Government had majority is shrouded in mystery. None of the documents are on public record," said Sibal.
Hearing has begun
Kapil Sibal apologised to the Bench for the hearing on a Sunday. "But we are not the only ones to blame," he said.
Our all 44 MLAs are safe at the right place, says Ashok Chavan
"Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress have the number. Many MLAs who were led astray have come back. Rest of them will also come back. Our all 44 MLAs are safe at the right place. We need not worry about anything," said Congress leader Ashok Chavan.
Congress leaders reach Supreme Court
Fadnavis ji will not be able to prove majority on the floor: Nawab Malik
NCP leader Nawab Malik told reporters that all the party MLAs will return by Sunday evening. "Fadnavis ji will not be able to prove majority on the floor of the House, we demand him that he tenders his resignation," he said.
Governor is BJP's worker, says Sanjay Raut
"CBI, ED, Income Tax Department and Police are the four main party workers of BJP. Present Governor is also their worker. But BJP has got trapped in their own game now. It's beginning of their end," said Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut.
Security tightened at apex court
Security at the Supreme Court premises has been tightened before the Maharashtra hearing.
NCP-Congress-Shiv Sena government will be formed in Maharashtra, says Chhagan Bhujbal
"49-50 MLAs of the party are with us right now, 1-2 are coming too. All the MLAs have been kept together here. NCP-Congress-Shiv Sena government will be formed in Maharashtra, 100 percent," said NCP's Chhagan Bhujbal.
165 MLAs are with Shiv Sena, Congress & NCP, says Sanjay Raut
"Sharad Pawar is a national leader. If BJP is trying to form govt, it will not happen. It is a wrong step taken by BJP & Ajit Pawar. 165 MLAs are with Shiv Sena, Congress & NCP," said Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut.
Congress MLAs shifted to JW Marriott Hotel
Congress MLAs in Maharashtra were shifted to JW Marriott Hotel in Andheri on Sunday.
Mukul Rohatgi to appear for Maharashtra BJP in SC
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi to appear for Maharashtra BJP in Supreme Court on Sunday.
4 of 10 MLAs who went with Ajit returned: Malik
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) spokesperson Nawab Malik on Saturday claimed that during the oath-taking ceremony of Ajit Pawar at the Raj Bhawan here 10 rebel MLAs were present, out of which four have returned to the party fold.
"Meeting of the NCP MLAs has been called at 4 pm to discuss the future course of action," Malik told reporters.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Kapil Sibal to represent Congress in Supreme Court
Congress leaders and senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal will appear for the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress in SC on Sunday.
Shiv Sena, NCP leaders lodged in separate hotels to avoid poaching
Shiv Sena and the NCP have lodged their MLAs in different hotels, alleging poaching by the BJP. While the NCP shifted its MLAs to hotel Rennaissance in Powai, the Sena has lodged its MLAs in the Lalit Hotel in Mumbai.
Dig at BJP?
"Accidental oath-taking," wrote Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut on Twitter.