Real Shiv Sena Case: In a major setback to Uddhav Thackeray in his fight against Eknath Shinde, the Supreme Court today restrained the Election Commission from deciding who makes up the real Shiv Sena.
Uddhav Thackeray’s faction had requested the Supreme Court to restrain the Election Commission from deciding the Eknath Shinde-led group’s claim on the “real” Shiv Sena and its symbol.
The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court heard the petition.
Uddhav Thackeray’s government in Maharashtra crashed in June after a coup led by his former ally Eknath Shinde split the Shiv Sena, founded by his father Bal Thackeray. Shinde formed a new government in alliance with the BJP.
Mr Shinde was sworn in as chief minister on June 30, with BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis as his deputy.
Team Thackeray approached the Supreme Court seeking disqualification of the rebel MLAs led by Mr. Shinde. If the MLAs are disqualified, Mr. Shinde’s government may be in trouble.
Mr Thackeray had asked the Supreme Court to take any decision on the “real Shiv Sena” till the question of disqualification was resolved.
Shinde has the support of 40 out of 55 Shiv Sena MLAs. The Shinde faction also has a majority of the party’s MPs – 12 of the 18 members.
The Election Commission decides on such disputes on the number of elected MLAs, MPs and office bearers supporting each faction.
The Thackeray camp argued because disqualification proceedings are pending against the rebel MLAs and if they are disqualified, they cannot be counted in the symbol dispute proceedings, but the Supreme Court has held that both are two separate proceedings. .
On August 23, the Supreme Court referred to a five-judge bench petitions filed by factions led by Uddhav Thackeray and Shinde, raising several constitutional questions related to defection, merger and disqualification.
The court said the petitions raise important constitutional issues on disqualification of defecting MLAs, power of Speaker and Governor and judicial review.
The Thackeray faction had told the court that MLAs loyal to Eknath Shinde could avoid disqualification under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution only by merging with another political party. Team Shinde had argued that the anti-defection law cannot be a shield for a leader who has lost the confidence of his own party.
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