The Supreme Court allowed the Uddhav Thackeray-led camp to stop it while allowing the Election Commission to proceed with the hearing of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s plea for recognition as the original Shiv Sena and allotting the party’s election symbol ‘Arrow-Command’. The petition seeking the same was dismissed.
New Delhi/Mumbai: The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the Election Commission to proceed with the hearing of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s plea seeking recognition as the original Shiv Sena and allotting the party’s election symbol ‘Arrow-Arm’.
A constitution bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud dismissed the petition of the Uddhav Thackeray-led camp, who had sought restraining the Election Commission from deciding the Shinde camp’s claim of being the ‘original’ Shiv Sena.
The bench also included Justice MR Shah, Justice Krishna Murari, Justice Hima Kohli and Justice PS Narasimha.
The Constitution Bench said, “We direct that there shall be no stay on the proceedings before the Election Commission.”
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Thackeray camp, argued that the election symbol order can be invoked only if the claimant is from the same political party but the claim is from an opposing camp.
He said, ‘My point is that Shinde is no more in the party and membership has been given up. So, how will the Election Commission hear him?’
Sibal said this while referring to the issue of disqualification notices against Shinde and some other Shiv Sena MLAs, who rebelled against the then Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in June this year.
Senior advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for the Election Commission, said that the commission is free to decide which camp has more MLAs.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, argued that the commission is only deciding which faction is the ‘original’ Shiv Sena and hence it should be allowed to proceed with Shinde’s plea.
Shinde camp’s counsel and senior advocate NK Kaul argued that the election symbol is not the property of the MLA and that the election commission has to decide which camp it belongs to.
The bench is hearing pending cases related to the political crisis that has arisen in Maharashtra due to the revolt of Shiv Sena’s Shinde camp. The Mahavikas Aghadi government had fallen in the state due to the revolt of the Shinde-led camp.
According to Hindustan Times, on July 19, Shinde initiated proceedings before the Election Commission, which issued a notice to Uddhav three days later.
After this, the Uddhav camp had applied before the top court to restrain the Election Commission from proceeding under the election symbol order. The court had orally asked the Election Commission to wait till the application is decided.
The Shiv Sena has not been formally split, with the Shinde-led faction having the support of a majority of the party’s legislators. It has also claimed that it is the real Shiv Sena.
Welcoming the verdict, Shinde said, “We have never done anything outside the purview of the law.” At the same time, the Thackeray faction said that the fight is important for democracy and the Constitution.
On the decision of the court, Aaditya Thackeray said – will continue to fight for the truth
Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray on Tuesday said the Supreme Court’s permission to the Election Commission to hear the plea of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led faction cannot be considered a victory for any camp.
He said that the fight for truth will continue in the Election Commission of India.
Aaditya Thackeray, son of Shiv Sena chief and former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, said that the apex court’s decision is neither a victory nor a defeat for anyone.
“The arguments made in the case will have far-reaching implications for democratic principles in the country,” he told reporters. We stand for truth and truth will prevail. The forum for arguments has shifted from the court to the Election Commission. We are ready for hearing. We have full faith in the judiciary. We believe in the Constitution and will fight for the truth with all our might.
The verdict will not give any relief to Shinde faction: Congress
The Congress in Maharashtra on Tuesday said the Supreme Court’s decision on Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s plea will not benefit his faction as the disqualification issue of 16 rebel MLAs is yet to be resolved.
Maharashtra Congress chief spokesperson Atul Londhe said in a statement, “The issue of disqualification of 16 MLAs, including Eknath Shinde, is yet to be resolved. The sword of disqualification is hanging over them.
He alleged that the current Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government in the state was unconstitutional and “till a decision on his qualifications, he has no right to take any constitutional decision”.
(with input from news agency language)
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