In a big setback for Uddhav Thackeray, the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Sept 27, allowed the Election Commission to proceed with the Eknath Shinde group’s plea on recognising them as ‘real Shiv Sena’ and to use the Sena’s official symbol.
A five-judge Bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud, M R Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli, and P S Narasimha passed the order after a plea from the Uddhav Thackeray camp which was argued by Kapil Sibal.
“The Interlocutory Application is dismissed,” the court said adding, “We direct that there would be no stay of the proceedings before the Election Commission of India”.
Sibal argued before the bench that Chief Minister Eknath Shinde cannot approach the EC once he has incurred disqualification. “I challenged the very locus of the person who has moved the EC”.
Sibal maintained that Shinde has incurred disqualification as his various acts amounted to voluntary giving up of the party membership under Paragraph 2(1)(a) of the Tenth Schedule; also he has violated the party whip as per paragraph 2(1)(b) of the tenth schedule.
Advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul argued for Eknath Shinde camp and said – About 1.5 lakh party members have sent their representations to the EC supporting the Shinde group.
Senior Advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for the Shinde group, said there was a pre-poll alliance. Uddhav Thackeray resigned as Chief Minister a day before the floor test. So, it has to be presumed that he lost majority. These facts show that there is no prima facie case for the petitioner, that is the Thackeray camp.
The bench observed that the issue is in relation to the ambit of jurisdiction of the Speaker under the tenth schedule.
“The political party is a much wider configuration than the legislative unit of that party which consists of the elected members does the dispute in relation to the former in the legislative unit affect the authority of Election Commission. That is the heart of the matter”, Justice Chandrachud observed.
The apex court also wanted to know would disqualification under the tenth schedule have effect on the symbol order.