The Shinde faction and Uddhav Thackeray are at loggerheads over the party’s election symbol after the split in Shiv Sena. 

Shinde faction claims symbol after Shiv Sena parted ways with 40 MLAsThe hearing will be held under para 15 of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.Election Commission will take any decision regarding the symbol only after hearing both the sides.

After the revolt in Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, now a tussle has started between the two factions over the party’s symbol. The Eknath Shinde faction, which split with 40 MLAs out of the total 55 MLAs of the party, is claiming itself to be the real Shiv Sena. The Shinde faction says it has the support of more MLAs with it. In such a situation, he has the right over the official symbol of the party, arrow and bow. At the same time, a caveat has been filed in the Election Commission on behalf of Uddhav Thackeray, saying that the commission should not take any decision regarding the party symbol without hearing his side. This is not the first time that two factions have claimed the symbol after a split or rebellion in one party. Many such cases have reached the Commission in the past as well. Know how the Election Commission decides when two factions claim the same symbol.

Question: How does the Election Commission decide if there is a dispute over the symbol?

Answer: There is a provision for the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 to settle such disputes. Under this, the Election Commission has the power to recognize political parties and allot election symbols. Under Para 15 of the order, the Election Commission can decide disputes between rival groups or sections of a recognized political party to claim its name and emblem. There are certain conditions for this. Only after being satisfied about the fulfillment of the conditions, the commission decides to make symbol allotment.

Question: What is the legal validity of Para 15 of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968?

Answer: Under Article 15, the Election Commission is the sole authority to decide the issues on dispute or merger. Its validity was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1971 in Sadiq Ali & Another Vs Election Commission.

Question: How does the Election Commission decide whether to recognize a faction as an official party?

answer :The Election Commission primarily ascertains the position of both factions within a political party on the basis of the number of its party office bearers and its number of MLAs and MPs. First the commission sees that how many office-bearers of the party are with which faction. After this the majority is seen on the basis of the count of MPs and MLAs of the party. For this, the commission also takes affidavits from MPs and MLAs, so that it can be determined which faction they are with. The commission does not take any decision without documents and without hearing both the parties.

Question: After one faction is recognized, what happens to the other faction?

answer :The Election Commission recognizes a faction after being satisfied on the basis of arguments, documents and numerical strength of any one of the two factions. In this situation, the original name and symbol of the party goes to the majority faction. In such a situation, the commission asks the other faction to take the party symbol after registering it as a new party.

Question: What if both the factions are unable to prove their claim?

Answer: If both the factions are unable to prove their claim or the Commission is unable to decide which faction has the majority, then the Election Commission can confiscate the party’s name and symbol. In this case, after registering both the factions as separate parties, a new party symbol will have to be taken. There is also an option from the Commission to put a new word in front or behind the name of the old party.

Question: If elections are near, can the Election Commission take a decision immediately?

Answer: The Election Commission needs enough time to take such a decision. In such a situation, if the elections are near, the commission confiscated the name and symbol of the party. After this both the factions are asked to contest the elections on the new party name and symbol.

Question: What will happen if both the factions come to an agreement in future?

Answer: If both the factions get united in future then they can approach the Election Commission. In such a situation, the Election Commission can recognize them as a unified party. The Election Commission has the right to recognize the merger of both the factions as one party. In this situation, the commission can also reinstate the old party name and symbol.

Question: When was the first such case came to the fore and what was the decision in it.

answer :Such a case had come up during the presidential election in 1969 when Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy was the official candidate from the Congress Syndicate. VV Giri was an independent candidate in that election. It was believed that he had the support of Indira Gandhi. Indira Gandhi had appealed to vote on the voice of conscience. The then Congress President Ninjaligappa issued a whip to vote for the party candidate. However, Congress leaders at large voted for VV Giri. Giri won the election and became the President. After this the syndicate expelled Indira Gandhi from the party. Although, Due to the majority, Indira saved her government. After this the matter reached the Election Commission. At that time, the Commission considered the Congress Syndicate as the real Congress. At that time most of the officials were with the syndicate. In such a situation, the pairing of two bulls was also received by the syndicate itself. Later Indira Gandhi formed the Congress (E) party. He got the calf party symbol from the commission.

Question: What is the situation in Shiv Sena’s case?

Answer: Despite the rebellion in Shiv Sena, most party officials are with the Uddhav faction. If you look at the case of Indira Gandhi, if you add MPs and MLAs to the number of office-bearers, then Uddhav Thackeray’s upper hand is visible. There is not a single office-bearer with Eknath Shinde yet. However, apart from the 40 MLAs, the Shinde faction is also claiming a break among the MPs. Along with Thane, many councilors in Mumbai are with the Shinde faction. In such a situation, it has to be seen further that what happens till the hearing before the commission.

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