In the Supreme Court, the verdict on the power struggle between Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s faction and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s faction, along with the MLA’s disqualification plea, will be delivered today. In this context, when the entire nation’s attention was focused on the hearing in the Supreme Court, on the eve of the hearing, a picture of a heated discussion between senior advocate Ujjwal Nikam and senior jurist Ulhas Bapat on ‘Mumbai Tak’ was seen. . It is interesting to note that in the backdrop of the political power drama in the state the discussion started from a question posed to Ujjwal Nikam Bapat ‘I as a law student am asking…’.
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Ujjwal Nikam asked a question from Bapat during the discussion about how dramatically the affairs of the state had broken down. “A law student asks the question. Forget the current situation in Maharashtra. The Governor must be happy as the Government is in minority. The Governor was not advised to call a special session by the Government. What should the Governor do in such a situation? What do you think?” Nikam asked. To which he replied, “It is a very complex but great question. If the majority government goes away, then under parliamentary democracy, we will follow the Westminster model…” As Bapat was answering, Nikam stopped him and simplified the question.
“Let me clarify again. According to Article 163, a special session should be convened by the Governor on the advice of the Cabinet or the Chief Minister. Suppose the government is running in minority. If we say the governor is the guardian of the constitution, then should the governor turn a blind eye to such a minority government? continue? What do you expect to do?” asked Nikam. To this question, Bapat said, “The Governor can advise the Chief Minister. Information can be sought under Article 167.”
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Speaking further, Bapat said, “One thing to note is that our parliamentary democracy is not so mature. In a parliamentary democracy, the Chief Minister should resign on the grounds that he is in a minority. If they don’t and that government continues to be in minority, the legislature must be called into session. Whether the government has a majority or not has to be decided on the floor. It is a Bommai decision,” he said. Referring to the 1994 S. Bapat decision in R. Bommai v. Central Govt.
In this reply, Ujjal Nikam says, you are right. The governor must have been satisfied that the government was in a minority. There is no harmony between the Governor and the Chief Minister or the Cabinet. In that case, is it against the constitution for the governor to ask the state government or the chief minister to pass the majority test? Dr. asked such a direct question.
“Not coming. Article 174 session has to be called on the advice of the Chief Minister. But even if he advises no, it’s been six months and he stayed for 15 days. So the conference has to be called. But if there is no majority on the floor, we have to decide who has the majority. Even earlier, the Governor Big mistake. When Ajit Pawar was called, he didn’t check if so many people are standing behind Ajit Pawar. It was a big mistake of the governor. So the governor should first check whether there is a majority,” said Bapat.
“The limited question is, do you agree that it is not unconstitutional to require the state government of the day to prove a majority if the government is in the minority and satisfied for whatever reason?” Nikam Bapat also asked. “Very much agree. They only need written letters from those who have left. We want a letter from the Governor that we have left this government as it is in minority. I just think the governor can’t do it. They want proof of it. The people of the Shinde clan should go out and give a letter that we have withdrawn our support,” Bapat said.