The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear on Wednesday a plea by Uddhav Thackeray against the Election Commission of India (ECI) decision recognising the Eknath Shinde faction as the official Shiv Sena.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Thackeray, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud that if the ECI order is not stayed then they will take over everything, bank accounts, etc. Sibal said, “My only request is, take up the matter tomorrow morning with the constitution bench matters.”
The bench, also comprising Justice P.S. Narasimha, said they don’t want to disrupt the constitution bench as there are three judges waiting and added, “we will finish the constitution bench and get up a little early and then take it up tomorrow”. Sibal requested the bench to take up the matter Tuesday only.
The Chief Justice said, “We have not read it yet…tomorrow.” The bench decided to take up the matter at 3.30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Thackeray, in the plea filed through advocate Amit Anand Tiwari, said the ECI has failed to appreciate that the petitioner enjoys overwhelming support in the rank and file of the party. “The petitioner has an overwhelming majority in the Pratinidhi Sabha, which is the apex representative body, representing the wishes of the primary members and other stakeholders of the party. The Pratinidhi Sabha is the apex body recognised under Article VIII of the Party Constitution. The petitioner enjoys the support of 160 members out of approximately 200 odd members in the Pratinidhi Sabha”, it added.
The plea contended 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.
On February 17, the Election Commission allotted the Shiv Sena party name and the bow and arrow symbol to the faction led by Eknath Shinde.
“The ECI has disregarded the party Constitution of 2018 (which was admitted even by the respondent No.1 to be the Constitution governing the parties) on the ground that such a constitution is undemocratic and that it was not communicated to the Commission. These observations are totally erroneous as the amendments in the Constitution were categorically communicated to the Commission in 2018 itself and the petitioner will place clear evidence in this regard,” said the plea, seeking interim stay on the ECI order passed on February 17.