The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly to issue procedural directions and timelines towards disposing of the many pending disqualifcation petitions of rebel Shiv Sena legislators, within a week. [Sunil Prabhu v. The Speaker, Maharashtra State Legislative Assembly].A Bnch of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud with Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra noted that the proceedings in this regard, which are pending since May, cannot gone on indefinitely."Order of this Court requires the Speaker to decide proceedings within a reasonable period of time. We expect deference and dignity to the directions issued exercised using Constitutional power. We now direct procedural directions shall be issued by the Speaker within a week setting out a timeline to complete the proceedings. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta shall inform the Court [as to] what is the timeline being set for disposing of the proceedings," the Bench directed..The Court was hearing a plea to expeditiously decide disqualification petitions pending against Maharashtra Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) of the two factions of the Shiv Sena party.In July this year, the Court had sought the response of the Dpeaker of the Maharashtra legislative assembly in the matter.The plea by Sunil Prabhu, an MLA of the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the party, was filed soon after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar and eight MLAs, including Praful Patel and Chhagan Bhujbal, joined the Eknath Shinde faction.In his plea, Prabhu highlighted that a Supreme Court Constitution Bench had on May 11 this year, directed the Speaker to decide on the pending disqualification petitions within a reasonable period. However, no such step has yet been taken, he submitted. As per the plea, the constitutional requirement of fairness requires the Speaker to decide on the question of disqualification in an expeditious manner. Prabhu further contended that the Speaker’s inaction in deciding the disqualification proceedings "is an act of grave constitutional impropriety“..CJI Chandrachud today said that the Speaker has to dispose of the disqualification petitions pending before him."It appears nothing has happened [since May]', the CJI remarked.Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Speaker (BJP leader Rahul Narvekar), said that he was being ridiculed despite being a constitutional functionary.Senior Advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for some of the rebel Shiv Sena legislators, alleged that a picture is painted that the constitutional authority is sitting over the petitions.Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for Prabhu said that the Speaker was acting as a tribunal in this case..The CJI then said that the matter will be listed next after two weeks."Tell us the status how long will this take then. The proceedings cannot go on indefinitely"..Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, also appearing for the rebel legislators, submitted that the petitioner himself had sought time before the Speaker.The Bench eventually proceeded to issue directions to Speaker to fast-track the process..The Supreme Court's May 11 judgment came in a case that had its genesis in the split of the Shiv Sena political party into two factions. Shinde went on to replace Thackeray as Maharashtra's Chief Minister after the split in June 2022.Following the split, rebel MLAs of the Shinde faction received disqualification notices from the then Deputy Speaker for acting against the party whip while voting in the Member of Legislative Council (MLC) elections in the State.The apex court was called to consider whether rebel members should be disqualified. On June 27, 2022, the Court granted interim relief to Shinde and his rebel group of MLAs by extending the time to file responses to the disqualification notices sent by the Deputy Speaker, till July 12.Subsequently, the Court on June 29, 2022, also gave the go-ahead to a floor test called for by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.This led to the fall of the Thackeray government, following which Shinde took oath as Chief Minister with the backing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the single largest party in the House..Nearly a year later, a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court headed by CJI DY Chandrachud held that Koshyari's decision to call for a floor test based on the request of 34 MLAs of the Eknath Shinde faction was incorrect. The Court held that Koshyari did not have enough objective material before him to conclude that the then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had lost the confidence of the house.However, the Court had noted that the status quo could not be restored since Thackeray did not face the floor test, but chose to resign.All the same, the Court had directed the Speaker of the Maharashtra legislative assembly to decide on the pending disqualification petitions against MLAs belonging to the Eknath Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray factions of the Shiv Sena.