The Supreme Court on Tuesday referred the petitions filed by the two factions of the Shiv Sena related to the political developments in Maharashtra in June to a Constitution bench, Live Law reported. A bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli observed that the matters involved important questions about provisions in the Constitution.

A legal battle is underway between the groups led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to be recognised as the real Shiv Sena.

Chaos ensued in the Shiv Sena in June after Shinde and a group of party MLAs rebelled against the earlier Maharashtra government – a coalition of the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and the 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, significantly above the majority mark of 145, while 99 MLAs voted against him.

Following the split in the party, the Shinde-led faction has claimed to have the support of 40 out of 55 Shiv Sena MLAs in Maharashtra and 12 out of its 18 Lok Sabha MPs.

Six petitions filed by the two factions are pending in courts.

These include Shinde’s plea challenging the disqualification notices issued against him and 15 other MLAs of his camp on June 25.

Thackeray, on the other hand, has filed a plea against newly-elected Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narvekar’s decision to recognise Bharatsheth Gogawale as the new party whip. He has also filed a petition against the governor’s decision to call for a floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly.

During the hearing on Tuesday, Justice Ramana said that a Constitution bench was required to look at the gap left by the decision in the Nabam Rebia case by the Supreme Court in 2016, Bar and Bench reported.

The Supreme Court had held that Nabam Rebia, who was then the Arunachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker, was ineligible to decide on disqualification petitions till the motion seeking his removal was completed.

“It is important to highlight the power of the deputy speaker to initiate disqualification proceeding when such proceeding has been initiated against him,” Justice Ramana remarked, according to Bar and Bench.

It also directed the Election Commission to not take any decision till the Constitution bench hears the matter on August 25. On July 22, the Election Commission directed Thackeray and Shinde to submit documents to prove that their faction of the Shiv Sena has the support of the majority of the party members.