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Maharashtra Speaker rejects all disqualification petitions, says Shinde faction "real Shiv Sena" following split

Mumbai: Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar on Wednesday rejected the disqualification cross-petitions filed by rival Shiv Sena groups in a crucial verdict and noted that the Shinde faction was real Shiv Sena following the June 2022 split in the party.
"All the petitions seeking disqualifications are rejected and no one is disqualified from any faction of Shiv Sena," the Speaker said as he read in the state assembly a lengthy verdict that went into on Shiv Sena constitution and changes made to it. He said "decision of Paksha Pramukh cannot be taken as the decision of the political party" and "Shinde faction was real Shiv Sena when rival factions emerged" in June 2022.
"In my view, the 2018 leadership structure (submitted with ECI) was not as per the Shiv Sena Constitution. Shiv Sena party chief as per the party Constitution cannot remove anyone from the party...Uddhav Thackeray removed Eknath Shinde or any party leader from the party as per the party Constitution. So the removal of Eknath Shinde by Uddhav Thackeray in June 2022 is not accepted based on the Shiv Sena Constitution," the Speaker said.
"Also, the will of the members of the leadership structure of 2018 cannot be the will of the political party, as there are contradictory views and claims about the majority in the leadership structure by both factions," he added. The Speaker said that given the evidence and records before him, prima facie indicates that no elections were held in the year 2013, as well as in the year 2018. "However, I as the speaker exercising jurisdiction under the 10th schedule have limited jurisdiction and cannot go beyond the record of the ECI as available on the website and hence I have not considered this aspect while determining the relevant leadership structure. "Thus, given the above conclusions, I find that the leadership structure of Shiv Sena reflected in the letter dated February 27, 2018, available on the website of the ECI is the relevant leadership structure that has to be taken into account to determine which faction is the real political party," he said.
The Maharashtra Assembly speaker further said that both factions have submitted different versions of the constitution.
"Then, in that case, what has to be taken into account is the constitution, which was submitted to the ECI with the consent of both parties before the rival factions emerged. Before recording further conclusions, it is imperative to reiterate that under the initiation of this disqualification, the Maharashtra Legislative Secretariat had a letter dated June 7, 2023, requesting the Office of ECI to provide a copy of the party constitution, memorandum, and rules." He said the constitution of Shiv Sena provided by ECI is the relevant constitution of Shiv Sena for the determination of which faction is the real political party. "Shiv Sena had not submitted any constitution with the speaker of the house as per rule 3 of the legislature rules of 1986. As per the rule, the constitution of the party should have submitted the constitution with the speaker within 30 days of the amendments made to the constitution by the president of the party," he said.
"The 2018 amended constitution of Shiv Sena cannot be considered as valid as it's not in the records of the Election Commission of India. As per Supreme Court orders, I cannot delve into any other factor on which the Constitution is valid. As per records, I am relying on the 1999 constitution of Shiv Sena as the valid constitution. The 2018 leadership structure was not in conformity with the constitution of the Shiv Sena (of 1999 which is relied upon). This leadership structure cannot be taken as the yardstick to determine which faction is a real Shiv Sena political party," he added. The Supreme Court had last month asked the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar to deliver his judgment on disqualification petitions filed by Shiv Sena factions of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray by January 10.

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