New Delhi [India], March 15 (ANI): The Election Commission has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court and justified its decision to allot the party name “Shiv Sena” and the symbol “Bow and Arrow” to the faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
In the affidavit, EC said that the order was well-reasoned and covers all the issues raised by the Uddhav Camp.
EC filed the affidavit in response to a petition filed by Uddhav Thackeray challenging against Election Commission’s move to allot the party name “Shiv Sena” and the symbol “Bow and Arrow” to the faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
Election Commission said that it had passed the impugned order dated February 17, 2023, in the exercise of its quasi-judicial powers provided under the rules of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 (Symbols Order).
EC submitted that the impugned order was passed not in an administrative capacity of the Commission but in a quasi-judicial capacity under the Symbols Order.
EC, however, choose not to make any submission on the merits of the case and said that its decision was as a well-reasoned order and covers all the issues raised by the Petitioner. “The Election Commission, thus, has become a functus officio for the present case since it has already discharged its duty to adjudicate the petition filed under Paragraph 15 of the Symbols Order after passing of the impugned order,” the affidavit said.
The EC further submitted that the courts in a catena of cases have held that where an order passed by a quasi-judicial body is under challenge before an appellate court, such a body need not be arrayed as a Party to the appeal.
Uddhav Thackeray had earlier approached the Supreme Court challenging against Election Commission’s move to allot the party name “Shiv Sena” and the symbol “Bow and Arrow” to the faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde
Uddhav Thackeray in his plea against Election Commission’s move to allot the party name “Shiv Sena” and the symbol “Bow and Arrow” to the faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, said that ECI failed to consider that his faction enjoys a majority in the Legislative Council and Rajya Sabha.
Uddhav Thackeray in the plea, also submitted that the legislative majority alone, in this case, could not be the basis for passing of the order by EC.
Challenging the EC decision, Uddhav Thackeray said the poll panel was erroneous in its decision and said that, “the entire edifice of the impugned order (EC’s decision) is based upon the purported legislative majority of the Respondent (Shinde) which is an issue to be determined by the top court in the Constitution Bench.
Uddhav Thackeray said that ECI has erred in holding that there is a split in the political party and submitted “in the absence of any pleadings and evidence that there was a split in a political party, the finding of the ECI is completely erroneous on this ground.”
Uddhav Thackeray submitted that the ECI has failed to appreciate that Petitioner enjoys overwhelming support in the rank and file of the party. He said his faction has an overwhelming majority in the Pratinidhi Sabha which is the apex representative body representing the wishes of the Primary members and other stakeholders of the party.
Raising questions on the Election Commission, Uddhav Thackeray said that the poll panel disregards the constitutionality test by holding that the Constitution of the party cannot be held sacrosanct as the same could not be said to be ‘democratic’.
Uddhav Thackeray submitted that the ECI has failed to discharge its duties as a neutral arbiter of disputes and has acted in a manner undermining its constitutional status.
The ECI has disregarded the party Constitution of 2018, which was admitted even by the Respondent Shinde to be the Constitution governing the parties, on the ground that such a constitution is undemocratic and that it was not communicated to the Commission. (ANI)