SC grants 15-day extension, asks Maha Speaker to decide defection pleas in NCP split by Feb 15

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New Delhi, Jan 29 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday granted a 15-day extension to Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar for deciding the pending defection petitions in the NCP split case.

Earlier, the top court had ordered the Speaker to announce his decision by January 31 on disqualification petitions filed by the Sharad Pawar faction of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) against the Ajit Pawar faction.

During the hearing, a bench headed by CJI D.Y. Chandrachud was apprised by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the Speaker would conclude the proceedings in the next two days and for dictation of orders in disqualification proceedings, the deadline may be extended by three weeks.

“Final hearing shall commence from 30th January and conclude on 31st January and matter will be closed for final orders. For dictation of orders, the Speaker needs three more weeks,” submitted SG Mehta.

Opposing this, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Sharad Pawar-led faction, said that order does not take three weeks to be dictated. “Your lordships may give him one week,” Singhvi said.

Responding, SG Mehta said that a three-week extension “realistically may not be an unreasonable request”.

Thereafter, the bench, also comprising Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, ordered: “Since only the final order remains to be pronounced, we extend the time for concluding the proceedings and passing of final orders until February 15, 2024.”

The apex court noted that the time schedule prepared with consent of parties itself prescribed January 31 for conclusion of proceedings in disqualification pleas.

The top court in October last year directed the Speaker to conclude the hearing in NCP defection petitions by January 31, 2024.

Jayant Patil of the NCP-Sharad Pawar faction petitioned the Supreme Court against the delay by the Speaker in hearing the defection pleas following a split in the NCP.



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