Madras High Court restrains AIADMK from announcing the general secretary election results 

Recording the arguments in the case, Justice K Kumaresh Babu also adjourned it to 22 March, which is a holiday.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Mar 19, 2023 | 4:03 PMUpdatedMar 19, 2023 | 4:05 PM

Madras High Court restrains AIADMK from announcing the general secretary election results 

The Madras High Court, on Sunday, 19 March, during an urgent hearing on the petitions challenging the AIADMK’s election to elect its general secretary, directed the party not to declare the election results.

The court also adjourned the case hearing to Wednesday.

On Saturday, the O Panneerselvam faction’s MLAs PH Manoj Pandian, R Vaithilingam, and JCD Prabhakar approached the court hours after Edappadi K Palaniswami filed his nomination to contest for the general secretary post of the AIADMK, challenging the election.

Admitting the batch of petitions, Acting Chief Justice T Raja assigned the case to Justice K Kumaresh Babu, to be heard on Sunday morning.

When the cases came up for hearing, the petitioners submitted that they all had already filed cases in the same high court challenging the resolutions passed in the general council meeting on 11 July, 2022.

These resolutions, among other things, led to their expulsion from the primary membership of the party, and a civil court adjourned the case to 11 April for further hearing.

Further, the petitioners argued that the general council meeting gave its consent to revive the general secretary post, which was abolished on 12 September, 2017, after a collective decision that former chief minister Jayalalithaa would remain the eternal general secretary of the party.

They also submitted that when a case challenging the meeting was pending before the same court, announcing the elections without considering that case would be illegal.

Stating that they would be put to grave hardship if the election was allowed, the three petitioners prayed to the court to stay the announced election.

Counterpoint and court order

Countering it, Palaniswami argued that the petitioners were proxies of Panneerselvam who had lost his case challenging the general council meeting before the Supreme Court, and that the apex court did not pass any orders against the general secretary elections.

He also countered that the nomination for the GS post would be finished by Sunday evening, and the court could not interfere in the election process, as cited in several judgements by the Supreme Court.

Recording the arguments, Justice K Kumaresh Babu adjourned the case to 22 March, which is a holiday, and directed the AIADMK election officers not to declare the result until then.

Meanwhile, the process of the election and receiving the nomination for the post of general secretary has not stopped.

So far, 38 nominations, including that of Palaniswami, have been received. All the other 37 nominations were filed by different persons in the name of Palaniswami.

Also read: SC order in favour of Palaniswami doesn’t end AIADMK tussle

Eligibility criteria

According to the AIADMK’s internal rules, a candidate for the GS post should have held the party’s membership for at least 10 years, and that too continuously.

Contestants should have served in a leadership post for a minimum of five years.

The candidate should be proposed by 10 district secretaries and seconded by 10 other district secretaries.

Each district secretary can either propose or second only one candidate.

Since there are a total of 75 district secretaries in the party, only three candidates can contest for the general secretary post.