Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has filed an appeal with the Delhi High Court against the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) decision to freeze the Shiv Sena’s ‘bow and arrow’ party symbol.
In the alternative, Thackeray has requested that ECI be directed to consider and assign the symbol he has proposed without confining his choice of symbol from the list of available symbols announced under the Symbols Order.
On October 8, the ECI advised both the Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde groups to refrain from using the term “Shiv Sena” or the symbol “bow and arrow” until the demands of competing factions for formal recognition were resolved. The Commission has directed that the Eknath Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray organisations be assigned new symbols from a list of free symbols. “Both the groups shall be recognised by such names as they may choose for their separate groups, including, if they so wish, linkage with their parent party ‘Shivsena,'” the decree stated.
The petition, filed by Advocates Vivek Singh, Devyani Gupta, and Tanvi Anand, challenges the ECI’s order on the grounds that it was issued in total disregard of natural justice principles, without providing the parties with a hearing or an opportunity to present evidence. The argument goes on to say that limiting Thackeray to choosing a symbol from a limited list ‘cuts to the heart of his entitlement to pick or propose a symbol of his own choice.’
Petitioners claim that this order which has been passed citing fear of both groups filling their nomination under the same symbol is a false apprehension and moreover, in the Andheri-east constituency by-elections Eknath Shinde group is not nominating a candidate. Therefore, this order of freezing the symbol against the backdrop of these by-elections is not required.
“Respondent No. 2 (Eknath Shinde) has petitioned to vacate the decision removing him from the position of Group Leader of the Shiv Sena Legislative Party under the pretense of a grievance under Para 15 of the Symbols Order. It is respectfully urged that such relief cannot be granted by Respondent No. 1 (ECI), since it does not fall within Respondent No. 1’s authority under Paragraph 15 of the Symbols Order “The plea continues.