After a day-long hearing, the Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to stop the Election Commission from deciding the claim of Eknath Shinde group to be the real Shiv Sena.
A five-judge constitution bench, headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, said there will be no stay on proceedings before the EC to decide intra-party dispute in Shiv Sena between Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde faction, on which one is the original party and also on getting the party symbol.
The bench -- also comprising Justices M.R. Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli, and P.S. Narasimha -- declined to entertain a plea by the Thackeray faction that EC should not be allowed to proceed in the matter till the apex court decides the plea pertaining to disqualification of Shiv Sena MLAs.
"We direct that there would be no stay of the proceedings before the Election Commission of India," it said.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Thackeray faction, submitted before the bench that Shinde cannot move the EC, once he has incurred disqualification. Justice Chandrachud noted that mere fact a reference has been made does not stall a constitutional body from deciding if it has power to decide under the law.
The bench noted that Thackeray's faction contended that the proceedings before the EC is the offshoot of the petitions before it and so it should not go on.
Sibal argued that Shinde wants to go to the EC and say that his faction is the political party, but much before that his membership to the party is in question in these proceedings, which have to be decided first.
The Thackeray faction moved the apex court seeking stay on EC's proceedings on Eknath Shinde-faction's plea for recognition as areal' Shiv Sena.
During the hearing, the bench noted that the political party is a much wider configuration than the legislative unit of that party which consists of the elected members. It further queried if the dispute in relation to the former in the legislative unit affect the authority of the EC.
The apex court heard arguments from the lawyers of both factions, and also the submission of counsel of the EC.