The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea challenging the post-poll alliance of Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress to form government in Maharashtra saying in democracy it cannot curtail the rights of a political party to align with other parties.
A bench of Justices N V Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna observed, referring to earlier verdicts, that constitutional morality is different from political morality.
"In democracy, we can't curtail the rights of political parties to align with other parties," the bench said.
At the outset, the bench asked advocate Barun Kumar Sinha, appearing for one Pramod Pandit Joshi of the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, why would court interfere in pre-poll and post-poll alliances and how this issue was amenable to judicial review?
Sinha replied that Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena had a pre-poll alliance and they made the promises due to which voters voted for them.
"Both BJP-Shiv Sena were part of National Democratic Alliance and they have a common minimum programme due to which the people of Maharashtra voted for them," he said.
The top court told the counsel, "Don't expect the court to go into arena of post-poll alliances in democracy and where it has no jurisdiction."
The bench said it is the matter where public has to decide and not the courts.
"If your arguments are accepted then there will be no democracy. There was a pre-poll alliance which has fallen apart. After this post-poll alliance was formed," it said.
Courts cannot issue directions to a party to implement its manifesto if it does not fulfil it on coming to power, the top court said.
Joshi in his plea sought declaration of the post poll alliance among the three parties in Maharashtra as 'fraud' on the electorate for gaining power.
It alleged that the change in the stand of Shiv Sena, which had fought the assembly polls along with BJP, was 'nothing but betrayal of people trust reposed in the NDA'.
The PIL had sought a direction to the Centre and the state asking them to refrain from appointing a chief minister from the emerging post poll alliance of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress.
"The act of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress are unethical and contrary to the constitutional scheme for staking claim to form government without legitimate alliance of political parties, which is far from the concept of the popular government," the plea said.
It said the post poll coalition between two or more political parties was impermissible under the Constitution as it lacked peoples' mandate.
The political parties, which have been voted out of power, cannot stake claim to form government by entering into such a coalition, it said.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was on Thursday sworn as a chief minister of Maharashtra along with six leaders of the Cong-Sena-NCP alliance.
The BJP and Shiv Sena, which fought the October 21 state elections in alliance, secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats, respectively, in the 288-member assembly.
But the BJP allegedly did not cede to the Sena's demand of sharing the chief minister's post, leading to falling apart of the nearly three-decade-old alliance.
The Congress and NCP won 44 and 54 seats respectively, in the last month's polls.