SC seeks response from ECI and OPS in the case filed by EPS claiming ‘Two Leaves’ symbol

With the Erode (East) bypoll in the mix, both the EPS and OPS factions of the AIADMK have laid claim to the "Two Leaves" symbol.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Jan 30, 2023 | 4:07 PM Updated Jan 30, 2023 | 6:03 PM

In a landmark ruling, a 5-judge bench ruled that it could grant divorce on grounds of 'irretrievable breakdown' of marriage without the 6-month separation period in the Hindu Marriage Act. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Supreme Court on Monday, 30 January, sought a reply from the Election Commission of India (ECI), within three days, on an interlocutory petition filed by Edappadi K Palaniswami praying for a direction to the poll panel to accept his signature in requisite Form B to authorise his candidature on behalf of the AIADMK.

While doing so, the court also observed that the ECI was not a party in the matter before it.

Palaniswami in his application said the ECI was inattentive in accepting his appointment as interim general secretary as chosen by the general body of the party, and did not allow him to sign on Form A and Form B.

He also prayed the apex court to accept the resolution passed on 11 July, 2022, in the AIADMK General Council meeting abolishing the post of coordinator.

EPS also submitted that the ECI had not replied to his letter written on 23 January, insisting to approve him as the interim general secretary of the AIADMK, as decided in the meeting.

He also prayed for a direction to the ECI to update its records in regard to the amendments made in the bylaws of the AIADMK on 11 July.

Stating that the last date for filing nomination for the Erode (East) bypoll was on 7 February, and the silence of the ECI would cause him irreparable hardship, he sought the intervention of the court in the issue.

What the judges said

The official AIADMK party symbol. (Twitter/AIADMK)

The official AIADMK party symbol. (Twitter/AIADMK)

Hearing the arguments, a bench comprising Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Hrishikesh Roy stated that the case was unique in its nature and that they would hear only the prayers mentioned in the interlocutory applications.

Further, the judges made it clear that the outcome of the case would not affect the orders reserved in the case filed by O Paneerselvam challenging the order of the Madras High Court.

Further, the bench ordered notice returnable to the ECI and also to O Paneerselvam and adjourned the case to 3 February.

As all the parties are gearing up and announcing their respective candidates for the Erode East byelections, the AIADMK — both the Edappadi Palaniswami and O Paneerselvam factions — have not announced their candidates yet, and both the leaders’ claim the “Two Leaves” symbol left the party in lurch.

Meanwhile, after the Supreme Court hearing, Paneerselvam held a discussion with his supporters at his home in Chennai on Monday.

Later in the evening, Pannerselvam is expected to be consulting with his legal team the EPS application in the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the Union government called for a meeting with all party leaders to discuss about the budget session.

An invitation was sent to OP Ravindranath, stating him as the leader of AIADMK in the Lok Sabha, to participate in the meeting.

Earlier, EPS removed Ravindranath from the party and also gave a letter to the Speaker of the House in this regard.