• Sunday, March 26, 2023


Shiv Sena row: India’s top court won’t stay poll panel call on allotting party name, symbol to Eknath Shinde camp

Supporters of Shiv Sena hold a portrait of party founder Balasaheb Thackeray as they celebrate after Election Commission of India allotted the Shiv Sena name, bow and arrow symbol to the Eknath Shinde faction, in Mumbai on February 17, 2023. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

The Supreme Court of India on Wednesday (22) refused to stay the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) order to allot the name ‘Shiv Sena’ and the ‘bow and arrow’ electoral symbol to the faction led by Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde, saying, “We can’t stay an order at this stage”.

The apex court clarified that the Uddhav Thackeray camp can pursue other remedies of law if any action is taken which is not based on the commission’s order.

The top court listed the matter after two weeks.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal insisted on the court granting interim relief and said that they are taking office after office and urged the court to pass a status quo order.

The Supreme Court asked the rival Shinde camp to file a reply to the petition.

On Tuesday (21), Sibal urged the Supreme Court to hear the plea on Wednesday (22), submitting that if the commission’s decision is not contested and challenged, the rival faction will take over everything, including the party’s bank accounts, among other things.

Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said, “It will not disrupt the Constitution Bench hearing because three judges are waiting for them.”

He added that he would finish the Constitution Bench hearing on the Maharashtra political crisis and take up the plea contesting the commission’s ruling on the Sena symbol thereafter on Wednesday.

The court said that it will read the matter first.

The Thackeray-led faction of the Sena moved the Supreme Court challenging the poll commission’s move to allot the name ‘Shiv Sena’ and ‘bow and arrow’ symbol to the Shinde faction.

Thackeray, in his plea filed on Monday (20), said the commission failed to consider that his faction enjoys the majority in the Legislative Council and the Rajya Sabha  or Upper House of the Indian parliament.

Thackeray in the plea, also submitted that the legislative majority alone, in this case, could not be the basis for passing of the order by commission.

Challenging the commission’s decision, Thackeray said the poll panel was erroneous in its decision and said. “The entire edifice of the impugned order (commission’s decision) is based upon the purported legislative majority of the Respondent (Shinde) which is an issue to be determined by the top court in the Constitution Bench”.

“The ECI has failed to consider that the petitioner enjoys a majority in the Legislative Council (12 out of 12) and Rajya Sabha (3 out of 3). It is submitted that in a case of this kind where there is a conflict even in the legislative majority i.e., Lok Sabha on the one hand and Rajya Sabha on the other as well as Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council, more particularly, having regard to the fact that there is a possibility of the alleged members losing their right of membership, the legislative majority alone is not a safe guide to determine as to who holds the majority for the purposes of adjudicating a petition of the Symbols Order,” the plea said.

The Shiv Sena was founded by Bal Thackeray, the late father of Uddhav Thackeray, in 1966.


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