The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction has moved the Supreme Court against Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla’s decision to recognise Rahul Shewale as the outfit’s legislative party leader, Live Law reported on Thursday.

Birla had recognised Shewale as the Shiv Sena’s legislative party leader and Bhavana Gawali as its chief whip on July 19.

A legal battle is under way between the groups led by Thackeray and Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to be recognised as the real Shiv Sena. The Thackeray-led faction has filed a number of petitions in the Supreme Court on the matter. In these petitions, it has challenged the governor’s act of administering the oath of office to Shinde and questioning the election of the Maharashtra Speaker, among other things.

The most recent petition contended that Birla’s actions were arbitrary and were contrary to the decisions taken by the Shiv Sena and its representatives in Parliament. The Thackeray-led group said that it had put forward Vinayak Raut as its legislature party leader and Rajan Vichare as the chief whip, but the Speaker refused to recognise them for the posts.

The petition argued that Birla accorded recognition to Shewale and Gawali at the behest of rebel MPs who were guilty of anti-party activities, The Times of India reported. It also said that disqualification proceedings have been initiated against the rebel MPs.

“The Speaker made the impugned changes to the positions of the leader and the chief whip without adhering to the basic rules of natural justice or even calling for an explanation from the Shiv Sena political party or the petitioners herein, despite categorical requests in this regard having been communicated to him,” the petition said.

The Supreme Court is slated to hear all petitions related to the matter on August 1.

Split in the Shiv Sena

Chaos had ensued in the Shiv Sena last month after Shinde and a group of party MLAs rebelled against the former Maharashtra government – a coalition of the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress.

After more than a week of political drama, the coalition was ousted from power as the Thackeray faction was reduced to a minority in the state Assembly. Shinde was sworn in as the chief minister of Maharashtra on June 30, while the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Devendra Fadnavis took oath as his deputy.

On July 4, Shinde won a floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly. He got 164 votes in his support.