The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Eknath Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena on a plea by Shiv Sena (UBT) against Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narvekar's refusal to disqualify MLAs of the Shinde faction from the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly [Sunil Prabhu vs Eknath Shinde]..A bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud with Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra issued notice returnable in two weeks..The bench was hearing a plea by the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena, that is the Shiv Sena (UBT), challenging the Maharashtra Speaker's ruling that the Eknath Shinde faction of the party is the real Shiv Sena.The said ruling was passed on a batch of disqualification petitions filed by both Shinde and Thackeray factions against MLAs of the rival factions after a split emerged in the earlier united Shiv Sena. The UBT faction has now challenged the ruling in so far as it dismissed disqualification petitions against Eknath Shinde and 38 MLAs.Notably, the Speaker had also dismissed the disqualification petitions filed by the Shinde faction against Thackeray faction MLAs.The ruling effectively meant that the Shinde faction would continue to remain in power in the State with the support of BJP and the Ajit Pawar faction of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)..Notably, the Shinde faction has moved the Bombay High Court against the Speaker's decision not to disqualify MLAs of the Thackeray camp, in which notice has since been issued.BackgroundSpeaker Narwekar in his decision of January 10 had underlined that the Shinde faction had a majority of 37 of 55 MLAs when the rival factions emerged in June 2022 and as a result, Sunil Prabhu ceased to be the whip of the party.Further, he ruled that Bharat Gogavale was validly appointed as whip of the party and Eknath Shinde was validly appointed the leader.The speaker even ruled that not attending party meetings and voicing differences of opinion outside the house of legislature are matters of party.Narwekar's verdict was delivered on the 34 petitions filed by the two rival factions of Shiv Sena filed against each other seeking disqualification of 54 members of the Assembly.Those petitions arose from a split in the party in June 2022. Undivided Shiv Sena headed by Uddhav Thackeray was in power in the State in alliance with Congress and the NCP (known as Maha Vikas Aghadi) before Shiv Sena split and came to power under Eknath Shinde in alliance with BJP and Ajit Pawar faction of NCP.The allegation for seeking disqualification were that the members of both factions had not complied with the order of the Chief Whip of the party (persons responsible for organising party’s contribution to the parliamentary business).The speaker came to hear the disqualification petitions after a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court ruled in May 2023 that the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly is the appropriate constitutional authority to decide the disqualification petitions within a reasonable period.It thereafter ordered the Speaker to decide on the matter by December 31, after allegations were made before the top court that the Speaker had been delaying the proceedings.Chief Minister Eknath Shinde led faction of Shiv Sena then claimed before the speaker that his MLAs never received any whip as a whip was never issued. Hence, there was no violation of the whip.The faction also added that they were upset with the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance and that is why they withdrew from the alliance. This act of joining the government did not amount to a violation of the legislative rules inviting disqualification.Former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray led faction of Shiv Sena argued that when the Maha Vikas Aghadi was formed in alliance with Congress and NCP, the rebels did not communicate their opposition.