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SC to hear batch of pleas by Sena factions on February 14

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday posted for February 14 the hearing of a batch of petitions filed by rival factions Uddhav Thackeray and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in relation to the Maharashtra political crisis. A five-judge Constitution bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justices MR Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha said, “We will hear it on February 14.” At the outset, senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for the Thackeray faction told the bench that in the last hearing he had indicated that he wants to argue on the need for a seven-judge bench to hear the case. The top court will first hear arguments on whether the matter is heard by a seve n - j u d g e bench or by a fivej u d g e bench. Sibal sought a reference of the five-judge bench judgment in the Nabam Rebia case to a seven-judge bench. The Thackeray-led faction had approached the top court challenging the Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari’s decision to invite Eknath Shinde to form the government and also the Speaker’s election and floor test. Later they challenged the Shinde group approaching the poll panel claiming they were ‘real’ Shiv Sena. They had also challenged the newly appointed Maharashtra Assembly Speaker’s action recognising the whip of the Eknath Shinde group as the whip of Shiv Sena. The plea said the newly appointed Speaker has no jurisdiction to recognise whips nominated by Shinde as Uddhav Thackeray is still the head of the Shiv Sena official party

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