1 Aug 2023 6:40 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Tuesday orally remarked that it will list the petition filed by Uddhav Thackeray challenging the decision of the Election Commission of India (ECI) which recognized Eknath Shinde faction as the official Shiv Sena after the Constitution Bench concluded the hearings in the petitions challenging the dilution of Article 370 of the Constitution of India. The court also...
The Supreme Court on Tuesday orally remarked that it will list the petition filed by Uddhav Thackeray challenging the decision of the Election Commission of India (ECI) which recognized Eknath Shinde faction as the official Shiv Sena after the Constitution Bench concluded the hearings in the petitions challenging the dilution of Article 370 of the Constitution of India. The court also orally agreed to list the plea filed by the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray) party MP Sunil Prabhu seeking direction to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker to expeditiously decide on the disqualification pleas pending against rebel Sena MLAs led by Eknath Shinde.
The plea challenging the ECI decision was mentioned by Advocate Amit Anand Tiwari before a bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Misra. Advocate Tiwari said that the matter was now covered by the Constitution Bench judgment in the Shiv Sena case.
"My lords directed this to be listed on the 31st. Now it is covered by the Constitution Bench judgement."
To this, CJI DY Chandrachud said–
"Wait for the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution Bench to get over and we'll give a date for this."
Tiwari requested that the matter be heard on a miscellaneous day when the Constitution Bench is not sitting, CJI Chandrachud said that it is a matter requiring detailed hearing and cannot be heard on a miscellaneous day.
"We'll have to hear it. Wait for the CB and we'll list", CJI said.
The petition filed by Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader Suni Prabhu seeking expeditious decision by the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker on the disqualification proceedings pending against Eknath Shinde was also mentioned for urgent listing by another counsel. CJI Chandrachud agreed to list it.
The ECI had on 17th February recognised Eknath Shinde group as official "Shiv Sena", allowing them to use the official "Bow & Arrow" symbol and "Shiv Sena" name. The Uddhav Thackeray faction was allowed to use the name "Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray)" and the symbol of "flaming torch" for the upcoming bye-elections in Maharashtra assembly. The ECI had stated that it applied the tests mentioned in the 1971 Supreme Court judgment in Sadiq Ali v. Election Commission of India to come to its decision.
A plea challenging this direction of the ECI was moved before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court had issued notice in the matter and permitted the Uddhav group to retain the name "Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray)" and the symbol "flaming torch" in terms of paragraph 133(IV) of the ECI order during the pendency of the matter. The ECI had allowed that interim arrangement in view of the bye-elections in Maharashtra assembly, scheduled to take place on February 26. The lawyers of Shinde group had also given a verbal undertaking that they will not take precipitative action against Uddhav group by issuing disqualification proceedings. The undertaking was not recorded in the order.
In its May 11, 2023 constitution bench judgement in the matter pertaining to the Shiv Sena rift, the Supreme Court had held that it could not order the restoration of the Uddhav Thackeray government as Thackeray had resigned without facing floor test. Further, the Supreme Court refused to use its powers under Article 226 and Article 32 in the matter and stated that “there are no extraordinary circumstances in the instant case that warrant the exercise of jurisdiction by the court to adjudicate the disqualification petition”. Accordingly, the court had handed over the decision of determining the disqualification petitions to the Speaker adding that the speaker “must decide the disqualification within reasonable period”.
Case Title: Uddhav Thackeray v. Eknathrao Sambhaji Shinde And Anr. SLP(C) No. 3997/2023 + Sunil Prabhu v. Speaker, Maharashtra State Legislative Assembly WP (C) No. 685/23