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SC to hear on Aug 1 Uddhav Thackery's plea for stay on proceedings before ECI on Eknath Shinde's claim

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear on August 1 a fresh plea of the Uddhav Thackeray-led camp of Shiv Sena seeking a stay on the proceedings before the Election Commission of India on Eknath Shinde group's claim for recognition as 'real' Shiv Sena.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for the Thackeray group mentioned the case for hearing before a bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana saying as the matters are pending before the Supreme Court in the meantime they are trying to make the matter infructuous by moving Election Commission. Till the court decides, they can't go before the Election Commission, Sibal told the apex court.
Senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul appearing for the Eknath Shinde group told the top court that the issue before the Election Commission is completely different.
It is an intra-party thing as to who represents the party and the symbol, it has nothing to do with matters pending before the apex court, Kaul said.
When the CJI Ramana enquired what was the stage of proceedings before the ECI, Kaul replied that notice has been issued for August 8.
The bench then posted the matter along with other petitions pending before it.
Filing the application, Subhash Desai, the General Secretary of Shiv Sena has said that the Election Commission can't decide the matter since the cases are pending before the Supreme Court.
The application was filed against the proceedings initiated by the Election Commission of India on a request made by the Eknath Sinde-led faction for recognition as the 'real' Shivsena and their claim over the party's election symbol - the bow and arrow.
It sought to implead the Election Commission of India (ECI) as a party in the petition which challenges the decision of the Maharashtra Governor to invite Eknath Shinde to be the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
It is stated that even though on July 20 the apex court was assured by the counsel appearing for the Speaker that no further proceedings will be conducted in the matter of disqualification under the Tenth Schedule, the Shinde-faction has initiated proceedings under Election Symbols (Reservations and Allotment) Order, 1968 seeking recognition as the 'real Shivesena' by the ECI and also claiming the right to use the election symbol allotted to the Shivsena.
On July 22, a notice was served to the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction wherein the Commission had stated that Eknath Shinde and some other persons have sought to be recognised as the 'real' Shivsena and are claiming right over the election symbol, the application said.
The ECI had initiated proceedings in complete disregard of the sanctity of the status quo order of the Supreme Court, it added.
It further stated that the Uddhav Thackeray-led group said that Shinde-faction cannot be considered as MLAs of Shivsena and their claim and affidavits cannot be relied upon.
"Respondents, despite the matter being pending before this Court, in acts of desperation, and to somehow portray a majority are trying to illegally cobble up numbers and fabricate an artificial majority in the organisation. It is submitted that the private Respondents have been indulging in several illegal activities contrary to the Constitution of the Shivsena," said the application.
Last week, the Supreme Court 3-judge bench had said that some of the issues involved in the Maharashtra political crisis may require to a larger Constitutional bench for consideration
A bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli while hearing cases related to the political crisis in Maharashtra had observed that important constitutional issues arise in the cases which may require adjudication by a larger bench.
Earlier, the top court had asked the Speaker of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Rahul Narwekar not to take any action on the new disqualification notices issued against the members of Shiv Sena.
There are various petitions pending before the apex court filed by both the factions of Shiv Sena.
Uddhav Thackeray-led faction had approached the top court challenging the Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari's decision to invite Eknath Shinde to form the government and also the Speaker's election and floor test.
They had also challenged the newly appointed Maharashtra Assembly Speaker's action recognising the whip of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde group as the whip of Shiv Sena. The plea said newly appointed Speaker has no jurisdiction to recognise whips nominated by Shinde as Uddhav Thackeray is still the head of Shiv Sena's official party.
Thackeray camp's Sunil Prabhu had filed a plea seeking suspension from the Maharashtra Assembly of new Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and 15 rebel MLAs against whom disqualification pleas are pending.
Shinde group challenged the disqualification notices issued by the Deputy Speaker to 16 rebel MLAs as well as the appointment of Ajay Choudhary as Shiv Sena Legislature Party leader, is also pending before the apex court.
On June 29, the top court gave a go-ahead to the floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly on June 30. Refusing to stay the Maharashtra Governor's direction to the then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority support on the floor of the House on June 30, the bench had issued notice on Prabhu's plea against floor test.
After the apex court's order, Uddhav Thackeray announced his resignation as the Chief Minister and Eknath Shinde was later sworn in as the Chief Minister.
On June 27, the top court had granted interim relief to Shinde and other rebel MLAs to file their reply on disqualification notices issued to them by Deputy Speaker by July 12, 5.30 pm. Earlier, Deputy Speaker had granted them time to file a reply by June 27, 5.30 pm. (ANI)

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