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SC directs continuation of ‘NCP-Sharadchandra Pawar’ name till next order

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New Delhi, Feb 19

The Supreme Court on Monday held that the Election Commission’s order dated February 7 granting the name ‘Nationalist Congress Party-Sharadchandra Pawar’ to the faction led by Sharad Pawar will remain valid until further order.

A bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and K.V. Viswanathan directed the Ajit Pawar-led faction to respond to Sharad Pawar’s plea challenging the Election Commission’s February 7 order, which recognised the group led by Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister as the official Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

The bench granted Sharad Pawar the liberty to approach the Election Commission for allocation of the party symbol and directed the poll panel to allocate it within one week of receiving the application.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Sharad Pawar, said that the Election Commission’s February 7 order was an interim arrangement made for the Rajya Sabha elections until February 27, leaving their group without a name or symbol ahead of the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly session scheduled to start from February 26.

The plea arraying Ajit Pawar as respondent was filed by Sharad Pawar on February 12 through advocate Abhishek Jebaraj.

The Ajit Pawar side has already filed a caveat last week, saying that it should be heard before the top court proceeds to pass any order.

A caveat serves as a notice submitted to an appellate court by a litigant who wishes to be heard in case any orders are issued regarding an opponent’s appeal that challenges the decision made by the lower judicial or quasi-judicial body.

Delivering the verdict on the disqualification petitions filed by both rival NCP factions after the party split in June 2023, Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar ruled last Thursday that the faction led by Ajit Pawar is the ‘real’ NCP.

The NCP split in July last year, with a faction led by Ajit Pawar rebelling against his uncle and NCP founder Sharad Pawar to join the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra. After that, both sides laid claim to the party name and symbol.

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