New Delhi: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear on Wednesday the Uddhav Thackeray faction’s plea challenging the decision of the Election Commission recognising the Eknath Shinde-led bloc as the real Shiv Sena and ordering allotment of the party’s original ‘bow and arrow’ poll symbol to it.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Thackeray faction, mentioned the matter before a bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices Krishna Murari and P S Narasimha on Tuesday.
“If the EC order is not stayed, then they will take over the symbol and the bank accounts. Please list it tomorrow before the Constitution bench,” Sibal requested the court.
The top court said it needs to go through the case files and posted the matter for hearing at 3:30 pm on Wednesday.
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The plea filed by the Thackeray camp stated the points raised in the petition have a direct bearing on the issues which are being considered by the SC’s constitution bench.
The petition contended the poll panel erred in holding that disqualification under the Tenth Schedule and proceedings under the Symbols Order operate in different spheres and that disqualification of MLAs is not based on cessation of membership of a political party.
It also submitted that the Election Commission has erred in holding that there was a split in the Shiv Sena. In the absence of any pleadings and evidence that there was a split in a political party, the finding of the ECI is completely erroneous on this ground, the plea said.
The petition said the Thackeray faction has an overwhelming majority in the Pratinidhi Sabha, which is the apex body representing the wishes of the primary members and other stakeholders of the party.
The plea said the poll panel has acted in a ”biased and unfair manner”. It is submitted that the ECI has failed to discharge its duties as a neutral arbiter of disputes under para 15 of the symbols order and has acted in a manner undermining its constitutional status, the petition alleged.
The poll panel had on Friday recognised the Eknath Shinde-faction as the real Shiv Sena and ordered allotment of the bow and arrow election symbol of the undivided party founded by the late Balasaheb Thackeray to it.
In a 78-page order on the protracted battle for control of the organisation, the Commission allowed the Uddhav Thackeray faction to keep the ‘flaming torch’ poll symbol allotted to it till the completion of the assembly by-polls in the state.
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.