HISTORIC ENDORSEMENT Shinde faction is Real Shiv Sena
   Date :11-Jan-2024

HISTORIC ENDORSEMENT Shinde faction is Real Shiv Sena
IN A major ruling, Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar on Wednesday held that the Eknath Shinde-led faction of the Shiv Sena was the “real political party” after the vertical split in the party and when rival groups emerged on June 21, 2022. The Speaker's much-awaited verdict came as a huge relief to Chief Minister Shinde and a major blow to the Shiv Sena-UBT, led by ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray, who had contested the claims of the breakaway group. Reading out his ruling on disqualification petitions filed by Shinde-led Sena and the rival faction led by Uddhav Thackeray against each other’s MLAs, Narwekar also said that Sunil Prabhu of the Sena (UBT) ceased to be the whip from June 21, 2022, and Bharat Gogawale of the Shinde group became the authorised whip. As the tenor of the ruling became clear, celebrations broke out among Chief Minister Shinde's supporters, who burst firecrackers, while Sena (UBT) leaders Sanjay Raut and Aaditya Thackeray said their party will approach Supreme Court against the Speaker's order.
The Speaker also held that the Shiv Sena ‘pramukh’ (chief) did not have the power to remove any leader from the party. Uddhav Thackeray removed Eknath Shinde or any party leader from the party as per the party Constitution. So the removal of Eknath Shinde by Uddhav Thackeray in June 2022 is not accepted based on the Shiv Sena Constitution,” the Speaker said. The Speaker went into great length on the Shiv Sena constitution while delivering his crucial verdict and said “decision of Paksha Pramukh cannot be taken as decision of the political party”. The 1999 party constitution submitted to the Election Commission was the valid constitution for deciding the issues, and the Thackeray group’s contention that the amended constitution of 2018 should be relied on was not acceptable, he added. The 1999 constitution made the ‘Rashtriya Karyakarini’ (national executive) the supreme body, he said. The Speaker said that given the evidence and records before him, prima facie these indicate that no elections were held in 2013, as well as in 2018. “However, I as the Speaker exercising jurisdiction under the 10th schedule have limited jurisdiction and cannot go beyond the record of the ECI as available on the website and hence I have not considered this aspect while determining the relevant leadership structure.
“Thus, given the above conclusions, I find that the leadership structure of Shiv Sena reflected in the letter dated February 27, 2018, available on the website of the ECI is the relevant leadership structure that has to be taken into account to determine which faction is the real political party,” he said. The Maharashtra Assembly Speaker noted that both factions have submitted different versions of the constitution. “Then, in that case, what has to be taken into account is the constitution, which was submitted to the ECI with the consent of both parties before the rival factions emerged. Before recording further conclusions, it is imperative to reiterate that under the initiation of this disqualification, the Maharashtra Legislative Secretariat had a letter dated June 7, 2023, requesting the Office of ECI to provide a copy of the party constitution, memorandum, and rules.” He said, the constitution of Shiv Sena provided by ECI is the relevant constitution of Shiv Sena for the determination of which faction is the real political party. “Shiv Sena had not submitted any constitution with the Speaker of the House as per rule 3 of the legislature rules of 1986. As per the rule, the constitution of the party should have submitted the constitution with the Speaker within 30 days of the amendments made to the constitution by the President of the party,” he said.
“The 2018 amended constitution of Shiv Sena cannot be considered as valid as it’s not in the records of the Election Commission of India. As per Supreme Court orders, I cannot delve into any other factor on which the constitution is valid. As per records, I am relying on the 1999 constitution of Shiv Sena as the valid constitution. The 2018 leadership structure was not in conformity with the constitution of the Shiv Sena (of 1999 which is relied upon). This leadership structure cannot be taken as the yardstick to determine which faction is a real Shiv Sena political party,” he added. The Supreme Court had last month asked the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar to deliver his judgement on disqualification petitions filed by Shiv Sena factions of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray by January 10.