OPS and other petitions challenging the election of the AIADMK general secretary are denied by the Madras High Court
The appeals made by ousted AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam and his followers against the party's general council decisions of July 11—resolutions that included, among other things, his and his supporters' expulsion—were dismissed by the Madras High Court on Tuesday.
According to Judge K Kumaresh Babu, the AIADMK's general council decisions of July 11, 2022, regarding Panneerselvam's removal and the appointment of his competitor K Palaniswami as the then temporary chairman seem to be legitimate.
This Court has been informed that the General Council has 2,665 members. 2,190 members have requested the meeting of the General Council, and 2,460 members attended the meeting on July 11, 2022, voting in favor of the resolutions.
"If such is the case, the General Council's decision should take precedence. I've already discovered that the General Council's authority to change the Rules is uncontested, and that the resolution was approved by the General Council with a resounding majority and without dissent. I believe that the resolutions approved by the General Council must be prima facie legal in order to change the first respondent's bye-laws, the court added.
The resolutions No. 4, 5, and 6 to establish the position of Interim General Secretary, name Edappadi K. Palaniswami as Interim General Secretary, and hold elections for the position of General Secretary, in his opinion, are also prima facie lawful.
The Panneerselvam camp has suggested that it would take the single-judge ruling to a division bench for review.
I S Inbadurai, an AIADMK attorney, said that the court dismissed all petitions.
"Panneerselvam (and others) filed a complaint against the resolutions from July 11, 2022. It was turned down. Thus, the general council and its decisions are legitimate, he informed the press.
The petitioner (some of Panneerselvam's aides), according to OPS, is entitled to an injunction for all the requests made in the Original Applications since the General Council's decision to expel him was taken without any justification and in breach of the norms of natural justice.
The applicant's claims would reinstate the "pre 11.07.2022 situation whereby the party would have to be managed by the Coordinator and the Joint Coordinator jointly," the court said. If the applicant's claims are accepted and an injunction is granted.
"There had developed a functional standstill in the affairs of the party since there had, it must be said, been a difference of opinion between the Coordinator (OPS) and the Joint Coordinator (Palaniswami) in their functioning and execution of the tasks. In its ruling on the findings of the learned Single Judge's decision from August 17, 2022 (which ordered status quo over the July 11 GC meet), the Hon'ble Supreme Court said unambiguously that this had been observed.
"The Hon'ble Apex Court has held in the aforementioned judgment that if the order of the learned Single Judge was to remain in force until the decision of the suit, it could be seriously detrimental to the interest of the political party, which is a recognized political party with the Election Commission of India. In his 85-page judgment, the court said that granting the applicant's request for an injunction would result in the status quo ante in the current case as well, which would not serve the political party's interests.
The court continued, "and if the election to the post of General Secretary is sought to be injucted, then it would affect the functioning of the political party which has been recognized by the Election Commission of India without it having a leader. There is a prima facie case in favor of the respondents in amending the bye-laws."
For these reasons, the judge concluded, "I do not find any prima facie case, balance of convenience, or irreparable injury in favor of the applicants. However, on the other hand, I find that if the injunction as requested is granted, the first respondent would suffer irreparable harm because it would affect the operation of the political party (AIADMK), which has over 1.55 crore primary members in the State of Tamil Nadu.
Without charging fees, the court dismissed all of the relevant petitions.