Madras High Court refuses to interfere in the election of general secretary of AIADMK

A division bench stated that it did not find any prima facie case for a grant of relief as claimed in the plea.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Aug 25, 2023 | 6:48 PMUpdatedAug 25, 2023 | 6:48 PM

AIADMK

The Madras High Court on Friday, 25 August, dismissed a plea challenging a single-judge order which dismissed the challenge to the AIADMK General Council meeting that was convened on 11 July, 2022, and the resolutions passed in it.

The meeting had decided to expel O Panneerselvam, PH Manoj Pandian, R Vaithilingam, and JCD Prabhakar from the party.

After going through the impugned resolutions passed in the General Council meeting, a division bench comprising Justices R Mahadevan and Mohammed Shaffiq stated that it did not find any prima facie case for a grant of relief as claimed.

Related: EC recognises Edappadi Palaniswami as AIADMK general secretary

‘No reason to interfere’

The court further observed that it did not find any reason to interfere with the convening of the General Council or the resolutions by which the appellants were expelled from the party and the ones through which the post of general secretary was revived.

O Paneerselvam — popularly known as OPS — and others challenged four resolutions including the abolition of the posts of coordinator and joint coordinator and the revival of the post of general secretary passed in the General Council meeting.

Justice K Kumaresh Babu, on 28 March, dismissed the petitions holding that he did not find any balance of convenience or irreparable injury in favour of the applicants to grant an injunction.

During the hearing, OPS and others submitted that the party resolutions were arbitrary and against the democratic principles of the party and they were removed from the party without giving them a chance to defend.

Speaking to reporters after the verdict, an advocate representing OPS, Thirumaran, said that it was not a setback to Paneerselvam and others.

“We will take forward the original civil suits pending before the civil court challenging the General Council meeting and we will challenge today’s bench order before the Supreme Court,” he said.

Related: Order in favour of EPS doesn’t mean end of tussle in AIADMK

A recap of the power tussle

On 11 July, 2022 among others, the party adopted a resolution electing Edappadi K Palaniswami — popularly known as EPS — as its interim general secretary, besides expelling his rival Panneerselvam and his supporters from the party, marking the culmination of a power tussle between the two.

Sixteen resolutions were also passed during the General Council meeting. During the meeting, Natham Viswanathan had moved a special resolution to expel OPS.

The polls for the general secretary post were announced on 17 March, this year. As per the poll schedule, nominations were filed on 18 and 19 March. After the poll, Palaniswami was declared elected unanimously but the announcement of the results was withheld.

Following the single-judge’s order, the results were declared with Palaniswami being appointed as the general secretary of the party.

Subsequently, on 31 May, the Election Commission of India (ECI) accepted a letter sent by Palaniswami formally asking the ECI to accept his election as general secretary of the AIADMK

OPS and others challenged the decision in civil forums and appellate courts.

The tussle to lead the AIADMK has been going on since Tamil Nadu’s former Jayalalitha’s death in 2016. To keep the party together in 2017, OPS was appointed as the party coordinator and EPS the co-coordinator.