New Delhi: The Election Commission has told the Supreme Court it has passed a “well-reasoned” order, in a quasi-judicial capacity, allotting the name and party symbol of the Shiv Sena to Eknath Shinde faction.
In a counter-affidavit, the EC said: “Since the impugned order was passed not in an administrative capacity of the commission but in a quasi-judicial capacity under Paragraph 15 of the Symbols Order, it has no contentions to make on merits of the case as the impugned order is 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 order.”
The poll body said 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.
“It is further submitted that Symbols Order has been formulated by the commission in exercise of its power under Article 324 of the Constitution read with Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951,” it added.
On February 22, the Supreme Court refused to stay the Election Commission decision recognising the Eknath Shinde faction as the official Shiv Sena and granted it the party name and symbol but agreed to entertain a plea by Uddhav Thackeray challenging it.
A bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said: “Now, we cannot pass an order to stay the Election Commission order. We are entertaining the SLP (special leave petition by Thackeray against the EC order). We cannot stay the EC order today.”
The poll body filed the affidavit in response to the notice on the special leave petition.
Thackeray, in the plea filed through advocate Amit Anand Tiwari, said the EC has failed to appreciate that petitioner enjoys overwhelming support in the rank and file of the party. “The Petitioner 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. The Pratinidhi Sabha is the apex body recognised under Article VIII of the Party Constitution. The Petitioner enjoys the support of 160 members out of approximately 200 odd members in the Pratinidhi Sabha,” it added.
The plea contended that the EC has failed to discharge its duties as a neutral arbiter of disputes under para 15 of the Symbols Order and has acted in a manner undermining its constitutional status.
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