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Supreme Court Tells EC to Hold its Decision on Shinde Camp's 'Real' Shiv Sena Plea

NEW DELHI:The Supreme Court, after hearing the Maharashtra matter on Thursday, ordered the Election Commission not to take any decision on the issue of the real Shiv Sena for the time being. The court will pronounce its verdict on August 8 whether to refer the matter to a five-member Constitution Bench or not.

 A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana, after hearing the arguments of all the parties, said that the date of hearing has been fixed by the Election Commission on August 8. If the petitioners want to seek time from the Election Commission, then the Election Commission should consider it. The court directed the Election Commission not to take any decision on the issue of the original Shiv Sena. The court will give its verdict on August 8 whether to refer the matter to a five-member Constitution Bench or not.

 During the hearing, Shinde faction's counsel Harish Salve made several points regarding the Speaker's authority on disqualification and the manner in which the procedure is to be carried out and demanded a detailed hearing on them. Salve said that the MLAs are entitled to participate in the activities of the House. Even if he votes against the party, it will be valid. The Chief Justice then asked whether the MLA, once elected, is not controlled by the party. He is only accountable to the discipline of the legislature party of the party.

Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Uddhav faction, requested that the matter not be referred to the Constitution Bench, saying that Singhvi and I can finish our arguments in 2 hours. Sibal asked how the disqualified MLAs can claim to be the real party in the Election Commission. Then the Chief Justice said that no one can be stopped from doing this.

During the hearing, Election Commission's counsel Arvind Datar said that if we have any claim of being the parent party, then we are legally bound to take a decision on it. Datar said disqualification from the assembly is a separate issue. We make decisions based on the facts placed before us. The Uddhav Thackeray faction has said that the Election Commission should not take its action until the disqualification of the MLAs of the Shinde faction is decided.

 It has been said in the petition that as the matter of disqualification of the MLAs of Shinde faction is pending, the Election Commission cannot decide who is the real Shiv Sena. The Election Commission has summoned documents from both the parties till August 8. The Thackeray faction has challenged the Maharashtra Governor's decision to invite Eknath Shinde to form the government in the Supreme Court. Apart from this, in the proceedings of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly held on 3 and 4 July, the election of the new speaker and the proceedings of the vote of confidence of the Shinde government have been said to be illegal. The Thackeray faction has also challenged the decision of Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to remove the MPs in the Supreme Court.

 The petition, filed by MPs Vinayak Raut and Rajan Vichare, has sought quashing of the appointment of Rahul Shewale as the leader of the Shiv Sena Parliamentary Party in the Lok Sabha and Bhavna Gawli as the chief whip. It has been said in the petition that the decision of the Lok Sabha Speaker is arbitrary and against the decisions of Shiv Sena's authorized representatives in Parliament. The petition said that the Shiv Sena had informed the Lok Sabha Speaker that Vinayak Raut was declared the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha and Rajan Vichare as the Chief Whip. Despite this, the speaker approved the candidate of Shinde faction. Even the Lok Sabha speaker did not ask for any clarification from Shiv Sena.

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