Supreme Court declines to stay ECI order on ShivSena

The Supreme Court Wednesday issued notice on a plea by Uddhav Thackeray challenging the February 17 order of the Election Commission of India recognizing the Eknath Shinde-led faction as the real Shiv Sena.

A three-judge bench presided by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud also extended the permission granted by ECI to the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) to retain its name and symbol ‘flaming torch’, till further orders.

“Pending further orders of this court, the protection which has been granted in paragraph 133(IV) of the impugned order of Election Commission dated February 17, 2023, shall continue to remain in operation,” the bench, also comprising Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala, ordered.

The ECI order in Paragraph 133(IV) said, “In view of the ongoing bye-elections for 205-Chinchwad, and 215 Kasba Peth of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, the Respondent faction, which was allotted the name of “ShivSena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray” and symbol of “Flaming Torch” as per the interim order dated 10.10.22 of the Constitution in this dispute case, is hereby allowed to retain the said name and symbol till completion of the said bye-elections”.

Though the counsel for Thackeray expressed apprehension that the Shinde camp would take over the party account etc, the court said it cannot stay the EC order at this stage and that it could not deal with what is said in the order. The questions of accounts etc are outside the ECI order and the petitioner will have to pursue alternate legal remedies for that, the bench said.

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