New Delhi, Sept 27: In a huge setback for the Uddhav Thackeray camp, the Supreme Court on Tuesday granted permission to the Election Commission of India to decide a plea by the Eknath Shinde faction to be recognised as the ‘real’ Shiv Sena and to use the bow and arrow symbol of the party.
A bench of DY Chandrachud, MR Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli, and PS Narasimha dismissed the Thakceray camp’s request for a stay of the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) proceedings until the Supreme Court rules on the appeal regarding the disqualification of MLAs from the Shinde camp.
“We direct there shall be no stay on proceedings before the election commission. Interim application seeking stay stands dismissed,” the bench said.
The Maharashtra administration of Uddhav Thackeray was overthrown in June under the leadership of his former ally Eknath Shinde, who then joined the BJP to establish a new government. On June 30, Shinde took the oath of office as chief minister, with Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP serving as his deputy.
The Uddhav Thackeray and Shinde-led groups filed petitions with the Supreme Court on August 23 citing a number of constitutional issues regarding defection, merger, and disqualification. The cases were heard by a five-judge court.
The petitions raise crucial constitutional questions regarding the exclusion of MLAs who defect, the authority of the Speaker and the Governor, and judicial review, according to the court.
The Thackeray group had informed the court that the only way for MLAs who supported Eknath Shinde to avoid being disqualified under the Constitution’s 10th Schedule was to join forces with another political party.
Team Shinde had contended that a leader who has lost the support of his own party cannot use the anti-defection statute as a weapon.