NEW DELHI: The SC refused to stay the EC order granting the “Shiv Sena” party name and symbol to the Shinde group. It said, ” We cannot put a freeze on the EC order at this stage”.
Terming ECI’s order as tainted and ex-facie erroneous, Uddhav’s plea while seeking a stay stated that the apex poll body has acted in a manner that undermines its constitutional status. It was also contended that ECI erred in holding that there is a split in the political party and has failed to appreciate that the Uddhav faction enjoys overwhelming support in the rank and party’s file.
A bench of CJI DY Chandrachud, Justices PS Narasimha, and JB Pardiwala also issued a notice in Uddhav’s plea and directed the current Maharashtra CM and ECI to file its counter within two weeks.
“Counter affidavit to be filed within two weeks. Pending further orders of this court, the protection which has been granted in para 133(4) of the ECIs order shall continue to remain in operation,” the court said in its order.
The bench also refused to restrain the Shinde faction from taking over the party’s office and bank accounts in the parliament and state assembly. “Any further action is not based on EC order. Then you have to pursue other remedies of law. We are entertaining the SLP but we can’t stay the order. It’s a contractual relationship within the party,” the CJI remarked.
The Uddhav Thackeray faction of Shiv Sena is however allowed to continue using the “Flaming Torch” symbol and Shiv Sena’s name (Uddhave Balasaheb Thackeray).
The ECI while allotting the party’s name to the Shinde faction also allowed the Uddhav faction to retain the new name and the symbol till the completion of bye-elections for 205- Chinchwad and 215- Kasba Peth of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.
The two factions have been at loggerheads since Shinde broke away with a majority of Sena MLAs, and with support from BJP formed the government in Maharashtra, dislodging Uddhav Thackeray as CM. Thackeray had called the EC decision a “theft” and “murder of democracy,” and petitioned the apex court for a stay on the order.