ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Cause and Effect of the Verdict on Maharashtra

Mass politics has the potential to push the democratic struggle much beyond legal spheres.

The judgment by the five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court, pertaining to political developments in Maharashtra, has neither provided any definitive closure nor resolved the vexed questions emerging out of these developments. Although the judgment does point at several key actors and their actions that contributed to the change of guard in the state government, it upholds the change itself to be legally valid. The judgment chastises the then governor for calling a session of the assembly to hold a confidence motion when he had no objective material to deem that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government had lost the confidence of the house. The judgment also says that it was illegal to deem the legislature party and not political party as the appropriate authority to appoint a new whip by the defectors. However, it leaves the matter of the disqualification of 16 members of legislative assembly (MLAs) to that very speaker whose election to that post could not have been possible without the unconstitutionally called session and recognition of the illegally appointed whip. Such an approach filled with lapses has adverse implications for the 10th schedule and could in effect destabilise the party system itself.

In its operative part, the judgment refuses the plea to restore Uddhav Thackeray as chief minister on the grounds that he resigned before facing the motion of confidence, and hence finds no fault with the swearing in of the new chief minister. So, the Court chastises the governor for the legal lapses, finds the ensuing process flawed, and yet the verdict effectively goes in favour of that very process that led to the removal of Thackeray as chief minister. The incongruence between the Courts critical observation and verdict does not leave any hope for the rectification of wrongs that have been duly acknowledged by the Court itself. The purpose of justice being the rectification of the wrong, the Court could have gone beyond the prayers, for which it is empowered by Article 142. One expects from courts nyaya in this sense of justice and not the asatkaryavada of the Nyaya school of philosophy which completely dissociates the karya (effect) from the karana (causes). Operating within this peculiar logic of cause and effect, one may satisfy ones liberal conscience while refusing to check the actions strengthening authoritarian and undemocratic tendencies.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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