SC asks EC not to decide on 'real' Shiv Sena
Former Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray's Shiv Sena faction got immediate relief from the Supreme Court on Thursday. The court directed the Election Commission to hold its decision on rival Eknath Shinde's plea that called for his faction to be recognized as the 'real' Shiv Sena. The bench headed by CJI NV Ramana may take a call on the steps forward during hearing next week.
Why does this story matter?
With Sena rebel Eknath Shinde forming the government in Maharashtra, the conflict has now shifted to seizing control of the party, the organization that Uddhav Thackeray's father, Bal Thackeray, had founded. To recall, Shinde was sworn in as Maharashtra's CM on June 30 with the support of 40 Sena MLAs and BJP. With 106 MLAs, BJP is the single-largest party in 287-member Maharashtra Assembly.
Bench to take a call on Monday
CJI Ramana said that the Supreme Court will decide on Monday if the plea should be referred to a five-judge constitutional bench. The bench, also comprising justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli, directed the EC to not take any action on the pleas filed by Shinde's Sena. The petitions by Shinde raised constitutional issues related to splits, mergers of parties, defections, and disqualifications.
EC was scheduled to hear Shinde's plea on August 8
"Let no action be taken... we are not passing any order. But at the same time, don't take any action," CJI said, as per Live Law. Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Thackeray faction, said that MLAs of the Shinde camp are not party members anymore. Meanwhile, Shinde camp's lawyer said that there is no proof to show that the MLAs have left the party.
What did the Election Commission say?
Also present at the hearing, the EC said, "Disqualification proceedings under the tenth schedule operate differently and shouldn't affect the body's power to decide Shinde camp's claim for official recognition." It reiterated that developments in the assembly are different from developments inside a political party.
Thackeray claims original Sena with him
Hearing the Maharashtra political crisis on Wednesday, the SC asked Shinde's faction to redraft its response to petitions filed by the opposing Thackeray camp. In a high-voltage hearing, Sibal argued that MLAs who joined the Shinde camp can only avoid being disqualified under the tenth schedule of the Constitution by uniting the breakaway group with another party. Shinde's lawyer trashed the anti-defection law argument.
Maharashtra crisis now in SC
Thackeray had moved to SC last week to challenge EC proceedings on deciding the 'real' Shiv Sena. Shinde's faction claims to have the support of 40/50 Sena MLAs and 12/18 Lok Sabha MPs. The Shinde camp earlier asserted their Sena opponents must be removed for disobeying the party whip during last month's trust vote, while Thackeray's camp disputes the legitimacy of this trust vote.Share this timeline