Maharashtra Deputy Speaker Narhari Sitaram Zariwal denied in the Supreme Court any irregularity in giving 48 hours’ time to then MLA and now Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and 15 legislators of his camp to respond to disqualification notices issued for defection.
The response from Mr. Zariwal came in petitions filed by Mr. Shinde and the other MLAs in the top court, challenging the disqualification proceedings.
Mr. Zariwal said the time for responses to disqualification notices was purely discretionary. “There is absolutely no illegality in the 48 hours being given to the petitioners (Mr. Shinde and others) to respond to the disqualification petitions,” he submitted.
He said the number of days was immaterial and what mattered was whether the MLAs were given sufficient and reasonable time to file their replies.
He noted that the MLAs in question had at the time approached the Supreme Court against the notices within a day.
Laying emphasis on the MLA’s approaching top court within 24 hours, the Deputy Speaker further said, “I fail to understand as to how and why 48 hours’ notice for them to file their replies in the first instance is itself is unreasonable and violates the rule of natural justice.”