The Election Commission of India has told the Supreme Court it passed a ”well reasoned” order recognising Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led faction as the real Shiv Sena and allotting to it the original ‘bow and arrow’ symbol in its quasi-judicial capacity.
The poll panel said it has become a functus officio (a body which has discharged its duty) in the case after the passing of the order.
In its affidavit filed on a plea by Uddhav Thackeray challenging its order dated February 17, the Commission said, ”It is stated that the answering respondent (EC) had passed the impugned order..in exercise of its quasi-judicial powers provided under paragraph of the Election Symblos (Reservation and Allotment) order, 1968.”
The poll panel said the apex court in a catena of cases had held where an order passed by a quasi-judicial body is under challenge before an appellate court, such a body need not be arrayed as a party to the appeal.
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”The answering respondent humbly submits that since the impugned order was passed not in an administrative capacity of the commission but in a quasi-judicial capacity under paragraph 15 of the symbols order, it has no contentions to make on merits of the case as the impugned order is a well-reasoned order and covers all the issues raised by the petitioner,” th EC said.
It said, ”The election commission, thus, has become a functus officio for the present case since it has already discharged its duty to adjudicate the petition filed under Paragraph 15 of the Symbols order after passing of the impugned order.”
The EC said it does not have any submissions to make on merits and submits that it was for the contending parties–the petitioner (Uddhav Thackeray) and the respondent (Eknath Shinde) to make submissions in the case.
In a blow to the Thackeray bloc, the Election Commission declared the Shinde faction as the real Shiv Sena on February 17 and allotted to it the bow and arrow election symbol of the party founded by Balasaheb Thackeray.
In its order, the Commission said the MLAs backing Shinde got nearly 76 per cent of votes polled in favour of the 55 winning Shiv Sena candidates in the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections.
The MLAs in the Uddhav Thackeray camp got 23.5 per cent of the votes polled in favour of the winning Shiv Sena candidates, the three-member Commission said while deciding the matter in favour of the Shinde bloc.