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Business News/ News / India/  SC to hear Sharad Pawar’s plea against Election Commission verdict on 'real NCP' tomorrow
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SC to hear Sharad Pawar’s plea against Election Commission verdict on 'real NCP' tomorrow

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Monday a plea by Sharad Pawar against the Election Commission’s decision to recognise the faction led by Ajit Pawar, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharastra, as the real Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

A bench of Justices Surya Kant, Dipankar Datta and KV Viswanathan is likely to hear the petition filed by the former cabinet minister's plea on Monday i.e. February 19Premium
A bench of Justices Surya Kant, Dipankar Datta and KV Viswanathan is likely to hear the petition filed by the former cabinet minister's plea on Monday i.e. February 19

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Monday a plea by Sharad Pawar against the Election Commission’s decision to recognise the faction led by Ajit Pawar, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharastra, as the real Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

A bench of Justices Surya Kant, Dipankar Datta and KV Viswanathan is likely to hear the petition filed by the former cabinet minister plea on Monday i.e. February 19.

On February 16, Pawar’s counsel senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi requested the top court to urgently consider the matter given the Maharashtra Assembly session coming up in the week. The petition stated that the senior Pawar’s MLAs are likely to face a whip that may be issued by the faction led by the Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister.

The veteran leader sought an urgent hearing of his plea in view of consequential fear of facing action for possible violations of the whip by his MLAs after the February 15 order of Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar.

It is important to note that Maharashtra Speaker Narwekar held that the NCP faction led by Ajit Pawar was the real NCP and that the anti-defection provisions in the Constitution cannot be used to stifle internal dissent.

The special Maharashtra assembly session is beginning on February 20.

Earlier on February 6, the Election Commission announced the Ajit Pawar faction is the real NCP and allotted the party's 'clock' symbol to the group.

Sharad Pawar, who founded the NCP with former Lok Sabha speaker P Sangma and Tariq Anwar in 1999 after their expulsion from the Congress, has challenged the Election Commission's decision.

Ajit Pawar faction has filed a caveat in the Supreme Court to ensure that no ex-parte order is passed in favour of the Sharad Pawar group if the latter moves the apex court.

Ajit Pawar and a majority of NCP MLAs walked away to join Maharashtra’s ruling coalition of Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena and BJP in July 2023. 

Election Commission's decision  

On February 6, the Election Commission announced the Ajit Pawar faction is the real NCP and allotted the party's 'clock' symbol to the group.

"...this commission holds that the faction led by the petitioner, Sh Ajit Anantrao Pawar, is the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and is entitled to use its name and reserved symbol "clock" for the purposes of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968," the election panel said in its 140-page order.

The commission had said there were serious inconsistencies in terms of timelines in the claim of the Sharad Pawar group on organisational majority, which resulted in unreliability of their claim. The poll panel had also expressed the hope that political parties will adopt good disclosure practices of organisational elections and internal party democracy.

Maharashtra Assembly Speaker

On February 15, the Maharashtra assembly speaker dismissed the disqualification petitions filed by both the factions led by Ajit Pawar and Sharad Pawar against each other's legislators.

The Speaker noted that the Ajit Pawar group had an "overwhelming legislative majority" of 41 out of 53 party MLAs when it decided to join the Shiv Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra in July 2023.

The Ajit Pawar group was, thus, the "real political party" when the factions emerged, Maharashtra Assembly Speaker said.

"All the petitions seeking disqualification of MLAs are rejected," Narwekar had said while reading out the ruling at the legislature complex in Mumbai on February 15.

The tenth schedule of the Constitution, which provides for disqualification of a legislator in case of defection, was misused in this case, Narwekar had held.

 

 

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Published: 18 Feb 2024, 06:40 PM IST
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