Order Allotting Shiv Sena Party Name & Symbol Is a Quasi-Judicial, EC Need Not Be Arrayed As Respondent- EC To Supreme Court
The Election Commission (EC) in its affidavit before the Supreme Court said that the order allotting the official name of the party, Shiv Sena and its official symbol- Bow and Arrow to the Eknath Shinde faction was passed by it in its quasi-judicial capacity and it has no contentions to make on merits of the case:
"The Answering Respondent humbly submits that 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 EC has said.
The Commission said that the 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.
"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," it said further.
The Election Commission also sought deletion of its name from the array of parties and said, "the Hon'ble 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".
Further, reliance was placed by the Election Commission on the judgment of the Apex Court in Sadiq Ali v. Election Commission of India wherein it was observed that:
"The fact that the power of resolving a dispute between two rival groups for allotment of symbol of a political party has been vestedin such a high authority would raise a presumption, though rebuttable, and provide a guarantee, though not absolute but to a considerable extent, that the power would not be misused but would be exercised in a fair and reasonable manner"
On February 2, the Supreme Court issued notice on the SLP filed by Uddhav Thackeray challenging the Election Commission's decision to allot the official name of the party Shiv Sena and its official symbol Bow and Arrow to the Eknath Shinde faction.
The Court refused to pass any order regarding property, bank account etc. of the Shiv Sena, as prayed for by the Uddhav Thackeray faction.
The Court directed the filing of a counter affidavit in two weeks and a rejoinder within a week after that.
The Thackeray-led Sena faction has directly approached the Supreme Court by filing a Special Leave Petition under Article 136 of the Constitution challenging the order passed by the Election Commission of India on February, 17.
The Election Commission under Paragraphs 15 and 18 of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 had allotted the party name “Shiv Sena” and the party symbol “Bow and Arrow” to the faction led by Eknath Shinde.
Cause Title-Uddhav Thackeray v. Eknathrao Sambhaji Shinde & Anr.