Uddhav Thackeray jolted! Supreme Court allows EC to decide on real Sena

New Delhi: In a major setback to Uddhav Thackeray, the Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the Election Commission to proceed with the hearing of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s group’s plea seeking recognition as the real Shiv Sena and the party’s bow-and-arrow election symbol. Allotment was requested. For this.

Justice DY Chandrachud, who was presiding over the Constitution Bench, dismissed the plea of ​​the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction, seeking to restrain the Election Commission from deciding on the Shiv Sena’s claim of the state’s ruling Shinde camp. .

“We direct that there shall be no stay on the proceedings before the Election Commission,” the bench also comprising Justices MR Shah, Krishna Murari, Hema Kohli and PS Narasimha said.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Thackeray faction, challenged Shinde’s whereabouts to approach the Election Commission to claim the party and its symbol. Sibal argued that the election symbol order can be invoked only if the claimant belongs to the same political party but claims to be a rival group.

“I am saying that Shinde is no longer in the party and has been given up membership. How then does the Election Commission listen to him? Sibal said this while referring to the disqualification notices issued against Shinde and some other Shiv Sena MLAs, who rebelled against the then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in June this year.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for the Election Commission, said that the Election Commission is free to decide who is the majority factor.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari, argued that the Election Commission is only deciding which faction is the “real” party and hence it should be allowed to proceed with Shinde’s plea. Shinde group’s counsel and senior advocate NK Kaul submitted that the election symbol is not the property of an MLA and which faction it belongs to is to be decided by the Election Commission, adding that the election panel will not be allowed to take any decision on the issue. cannot be stopped.

The bench was hearing pending cases related to the political crisis in Maharashtra, which began with the Shinde group’s rebellion against the Uddhav Thackeray-led leadership that led to the collapse of the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state.

The break-up of the Shiv Sena resulted in several petitions being filed in the Supreme Court by rival factions, and the apex court on August 23 referred to a five-judge bench saying that the conflict had raised several constitutional questions related to defection, merger and disqualification. . It had asked the Election Commission not to pass any order on the Shinde faction’s plea that it be treated as the “real” Shiv Sena and the party’s election symbol, the bar, was dropped on Tuesday.

Although the Shinde faction has formed a coalition government with the BJP in Maharashtra and has the support of an overwhelming majority of MLAs who won on Shiv Sena ticket, the Election Commission cannot recognize it as a parent party on that basis alone.

The Election Commission will have to consider the support of each faction in the legislative and organizational wing of the party. In such cases, the poll panel also looks into the constitution of the party and the list of office bearers assigned to it by the party when it is united.