Eknath Shinde Faction Appeals Against Misuse of Anti-Defection Law

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The Eknath Shinde faction of Shiv Sena told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the anti-defection law should not be used as a tool for a leader who has lost the confidence of his own party to retain power by locking his members in.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing the Shinde group, made this argument in response to senior advocates Kapil Sibal and A M Singhvi, who appeared for the Uddhav Thackeray faction. Sibal argued that the rebels could only escape the anti-defection law by claiming merger with another party or forming a new party.

Sibal also cited the Karnataka Assembly case, where the SC had ruled that giving up party membership can be inferred from conduct. He pointed out that the rebel MLAs were called for a party meeting but did not attend, and instead went to a different location. Sibal argued that their actions amount to voluntarily giving up party membership.

He also emphasized that the rebels cannot claim to be the original Sena, as they had recognized Uddhav Thackeray as the president of the official party. Sibal and Singhvi both argued that the anti-defection law is being misused to encourage defection and topple the government.

Salve disputed the argument that the rebels’ conduct amounted to voluntarily giving up Sena membership. He pointed out that the anti-defection law is based on the premise of leaving the political party, and no member of the Sena has been disqualified.

The bench questioned the rebels’ argument that they are the original Sena, and Salve clarified that they have not formed a new party. He emphasized that dissent within a political party is not the same as leaving the party.

Senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, also representing the Shinde group, argued that the SC is being asked to bypass other constitutional bodies.

The CJI reminded that the High Court should be approached first in such matters, but Kaul argued that they came to the SC because the situation was in violation of a previous SC ruling.

Overall, the Shinde faction of Shiv Sena is challenging the use of the anti-defection law to disqualify their members, and they are seeking the SC’s intervention in the matter.

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