In a relief to Uddhav Thackeray, the Supreme Court on Thursday orally asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) not to decide on a plea by the Eknath Shinde group to recognize them as the real Shiv Sena.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli asked the Election Commission not to take any precipitative action on the claim raised by the Shinde group for recognizing them as the real Shiv Sena party in the meanwhile.
The top court told the ECI that if the Thackeray faction seeks time to file a response to its notices on the Shinde-faction petition, then it should consider their request keeping in mind the views expressed by the apex court.
The bench told senior advocate Arvind Datar, representing ECI, "Let them file affidavits. But can't you hold...let no precipitative action be taken... We are not passing any orders. But at the same time don't take any precipitative action..."
Datar submitted that the disqualification proceedings under the tenth schedule operate in a different territory and it does not affect the ECI's power to decide the claim of rival factions for official recognition.
The top court said it will decide by Monday whether to refer to a larger bench regarding the constitutional questions involved in the disqualification of MLAs arising from the Maharashtra political scenario.
Shinde faction moved the Election Commission seeking their recognition as the real Shiv Sena ahead of the BMC polls. However, the Thackeray faction has contested it saying that a few MLAs can't decide about the entire political party.
The top court was hearing petitions filed by the Shiv Sena and its rebel MLAs on the constitutional issues of splits, merger, defection, and disqualification. (AA/IANS)