NEW DELHI: Anguished by a delay in proceedings before the Maharashtra assembly speaker on cross-petitions by two Sena factions for disqualification of MLAs of rival groups in breach of the Supreme Court’s orders, CJI D Y Chandrachud-led bench on Friday told him not to reduce the hearings to a charade and fix a time-frame to decide expeditiously on the pleas.

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“Since June what has happened in this matter? Nothing. There is no action. And when the matter comes up before this court, some hearing takes place. This should not be reduced to a charade. You have to have a proper hearing before the speaker,” said a bench of the CJI and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra.
It told solicitor general Tushar Mehta to ask the speaker to give a schedule to the court by Monday for completing the hearing on disqualification proceedings.

“If we find that no time schedule is set out, we will issue a peremptory order asking him to render a decision within a timeframe.”
“We don’t want all these rigmarole. He has to decide and give us a schedule,” the CJI said and posted the matter for Tuesday. When the SG said he would take instructions on whether the speaker would give a time-schedule given the dignity of his office, the CJI said, “I am concerned about maintaining the dignity of our court. Our orders are not being implemented, that is a serious concern for us.”
When Mehta said he would apprise the court of the time-schedule for completing proceedings before the speaker, the bench said, “He (the speaker) must hear it on day-to-day basis and complete the hearing.”
SC also posted the petition by NCP’s Jayant Patil, seeking direction to the speaker for expeditious hearing on petitions seeking disqualification of Ajit Pawar-group of MLAs, for hearing on Tuesday.

SG said the speaker is a constitutional functionary first and then a tribunal to decide the disqualification proceedings.
He also said that it would not be in good taste for the SC to direct a constitutional authority in the manner in which he should schedule the hearings.
The CJI said, “For the purpose of the 10th schedule, he is an election tribunal and not exercising his powers as a speaker in the House. And the election tribunal is amenable to the jurisdiction of our court.”
Mehta said the SC would not even do it to other tribunals and ask them to give day-to-day accounts of what they are doing. “None of the parties, except one, is telling the court to direct the speaker to do this and that. Is this what the SC had intended,” Mehta asked, and accused the Sena-Thackeray faction of demanding the speaker to do certain things, putting him in dilemma.
With senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Devadatt Kamat breathing fire at the dilatory tactics of the speaker, the bench said, “We issued notice in this matter on July 14. Thereafter we passed an order on September 18 expecting the speaker to frame a reasonable time-frame for completing the hearings … Now when we find there is no such effort on the part of the Sspeaker, hence we are constrained to say that he must take a decision within two months.”
Court officials said, the CJI posted the matter for Tuesday and said, “I am concerned about maintaining the dignity of our court, given the seriousness of the matter.”

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