Supreme Court Orders Ajit Pawar’s Faction to Stop Using Sharad Pawar’s Name and Image

Share this news

The Supreme Court directed Ajit Pawar’s faction of the National Congress Party (NCP) on Thursday to refrain from using Sharad Pawar’s name and photo. It clarified that the Election Commission’s decision is still under dispute and not final. To avoid confusion, the court suggested Ajit Pawar consider using a different symbol.

Representing Sharad Pawar, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi informed the court that Ajit Pawar’s NCP is misleading people by using Sharad Pawar’s image and the clock symbol. Singhvi argued that this is deceitful, especially considering their leader’s belief that it could benefit them in rural areas.

After hearing the case, a bench consisting of Justices Surya Kant and K.V. Viswanathan stated that they would ask Ajit Pawar’s faction to provide a clear assurance that they will refrain from using Sharad Pawar’s image. The bench advised them to only use their own identities since they are now two separate entities.

The bench expressed orally that it is unfair to use Sharad Pawar’s image during elections and then discard it afterward.

The Sharad Pawar group filed a complaint alleging misuse of his name and images, and the court ordered Ajit Pawar’s faction to respond with an affidavit by Saturday.

Earlier on February 19, the Supreme Court allowed Sharad Pawar and his group to function under the name “Nationalist Congress Party-Sharad Chandra Pawar.”

In a February 7 order, the Election Commission had given Sharad Pawar’s faction the new name to contest in the Rajya Sabha elections.

The bench allowed the Sharad Pawar group to apply for a party symbol, providing them with temporary relief. The EC was instructed to assign them a symbol within a week of their application.

In anticipation of a petition against the EC’s decision from the Sharad Pawar faction, Ajit Pawar’s faction filed a caveat in the Supreme Court. This precaution ensures they will be heard before any orders are issued on Sharad Pawar’s plea.

Both factions were found to be operating outside the party’s constitution and organizational elections by the EC. Consequently, Ajit Pawar’s group won the majority test in the legislative branch.

The Speaker of Maharashtra declared Ajit Pawar’s faction as the legitimate NCP based on legislative majority. Forty-one MLAs supported Ajit Pawar.

Previously, the Supreme Court had given the Maharashtra Speaker until February 15 to decide on the NCP MLAs associated with Ajit Pawar’s faction who had filed petitions for disqualification.

Ajit Pawar defied Sharad Pawar to become the Deputy Chief Minister in the Maharashtra government. In July 2023, he left the NCP with most of its MLAs to support the Maharashtra government led by the BJP and Shiv Sena coalition.