Tamil Nadu

AIADMK leaders urge HC to reject plea for intra-party polls

AIADMK senior leaders have filed a joint application in the Madras High Court, seeking to reject a civil suit preferred by an individual insisting upon conduct of intra-party elections and to declare as null and void the appointment of various office-bearers without conducting such elections. The applicants — party presidium chairman E. Madhoosudhanan, coordinator O. Panneerselvam and joint coordinator Edappadi K. Palaniswami — prayed to reject the plaint with exemplary costs.

Justice R. Pongiappan on Wednesday directed the plaintiff, G. Sundaram of Kanagkurichi in Salem district, to file his reply within eight weeks and adjourned the case to April 24. The applicants questioned the plaintiff’s locus standi and claimed there was a “hidden agenda” behind the case.

Filing a common affidavit, Mr. Madhoosudhanan denied the claim that the party was dormant since 2017 and said the plaintiff could not question the leadership of Mr. Panneerselvam and Mr. Palaniswami. “There was dispute between two factions in AIADMK and the said matter reached the Election Commission of India (ECI) as a dispute under Para 15 of Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order of 1968.

“The ECI held that the group presided over by the coordinator and joint coordinator is the original AIADMK. This order came to be passed on November 23, 2017. The order was challenged before the Delhi High Court but the writ petitions were dismissed on February 28, 2019.” Thereafter, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeals filed against the order on March 26, 2019. A review application was also dismissed on April 23, 2020.

“Therefore, the very tenor of the plaint questioning the leadership of the coordinator and joint coordinator is not maintainable… The party has specifically sought time from the ECI for conduct of intra-party election from time to time and the same has been granted by the Commission,” he said.

The AIADMK was an unregistered body of individuals governed by a set of rules and regulations registered with the ECI, the applicants said. Non-members of the party could not question its functioning. The by-laws of the party require every member to renew his/her membership on payment of ₹10 once in five years and categorically state that even members could not resort to court proceedings regarding party matters.

It was also brought to the notice of the court that the party by-laws on membership state that “if any member of the party resorts to court proceedings against the party’s coordinator or joint coordinator’s decision, he/she shall cease to be a member of the party. The decision of the general council shall be final with regard to party matters and only those who abide by this condition are eligible to admission for membership.”

As far as the plaintiff Mr. Sundaram was concerned, there was no evidence to prove that he had renewed his membership after 2013. “As a person who is not a member of the AIADMK, the plaintiff has no locus whatsoever to seek for a mandatory injunction for conduct of intra-party election. The plaintiff is motivated and has approached this honourable court with mala fide intention to demean the stature of AIADMK,” the applicants added.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 5:21:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/aiadmk-leaders-urge-hc-to-reject-plea-for-intra-party-polls/article33927830.ece

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