Madras HC dismisses Sasikala plea to be AIADMK general secretary

The high court stated in its order that Sasikala could not attempt to enforce her rights as AIADMK general secretary.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Dec 05, 2023 | 8:19 PMUpdatedDec 05, 2023 | 8:20 PM

Jayalalithaa death

Shattering the claims of VK Sasikala to be general secretary of the AIADMK, the Madras High Court on Tuesday, 5 December, rejected her plea against being removed from the post.

Ironically, the order came on the death anniversary of former Tamil Nadu chief minister and party general secretary J Jayalalithaa.

Sasikala was her close aide and dreamt of taking over the party’s reins after she died in 2016.

A Bench comprising Justices R Subramanian and N Senthilkumar, upholding the order of the City Civil Court, said that it did not see any reason to interfere with the lower court rejecting the prayer for amendment in the AIADMK bylaws.

Also read: Edappadi Palaniswami is ADMK general secretary

Suit ‘espouses’ right of a splinter group

“The trial judge has concluded that the amendment if allowed, would put in place a completely different controversy before the court, which is not permissible,” said the judges.

“We are in complete agreement with the views expressed by the trial judge on the effect of the amendment,” they added.

“If we are to examine the case on hand, in the light of the precedents that have been cited at the bar, we will have to necessarily conclude that the suit as it stands today cannot be retained on the file as the suit espouses the right of a splinter group that was created by an interim order of the Election Commission, which has ceased to be in existence upon the final orders having been passed,” they noted.

“We are, therefore, unable to fault the trial court for having rejected the petition,” said the judges.

‘No reason to interfere

The court pointed out that the original plaint was filed in 2017, after which several developments took place in the party, and the appeals filed by Sasikala could not withstand scrutiny.

It observed, “Therefore, the suit as it stands today is a completely meritless suit and the second plaintiff (Sasikala) cannot in this suit attempt to enforce her rights as the general secretary of AIADMK.”

The bench added: “We, therefore, do not see any reason to interfere with the order rejecting the prayer for amendment.”

It added: “We therefore dismiss the civil revision petition, confirming the orders passed by the trial judge.”

Also read: Sasikala’s assets frozen

The case

On 29 December, 2016, the then-presidium chairman, E Madhusudhanan, called for an emergent general council meeting following Jayalalithaa’s demise. In the general council meeting, it was resolved to appoint Sasikala as an interim general secretary of AIADMK.

On 30 December, Sasikala took oath as the party’s interim head. On 17 February 2017, the Supreme Court convicted Sasikala in a disproportionate assets (DA) case.

Seven months later, on 12 September, the general council of the AIADMK convened again and resolved to remove Sasikala from the post of interim general secretary and recalled the resolutions taken in the previous General Council meeting.

It was also resolved that the party would function under dual leadership by creating two new posts — coordinator and joint coordinator — and appointed O Panneerselvam as coordinator and Palaniswami as joint coordinator of the party.

Sasikala, while in prison, challenged the decision before the City Civil Court. Subsequently, AIADMK leaders S Semmalai, Panneerselvam, and Palaniswami moved applications to reject Sasikala’s plaint.

On 11 April, 2022, the civil court allowed the three applications of the AIADMK leaders and rejected Sasikala’s plea. Challenging this, Sasikala approached the high court.