Edappadi Palaniswami moves Madras HC against seating arrangements in Tamil Nadu Assembly

Seeks a direction to the Assembly Secretary and Speaker M.Appavu to recognise R.B. Udhayakumar, instead of expelled leader O. Panneerselvam, as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Updated - October 27, 2023 12:48 pm IST

Published - October 27, 2023 10:54 am IST - CHENNAI

A view of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. The AIADMK’s request to change the seating arrangement in the Assembly hall is pending with the Speaker since 2022.

A view of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. The AIADMK’s request to change the seating arrangement in the Assembly hall is pending with the Speaker since 2022. | Photo Credit: ANI

Leader of the Opposition and AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami has filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly secretary and Speaker M. Appavu to recognise R.B. Udhayakumar as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and ‘Agri’ S.S. Krishnamurthy as the deputy secretary of AIADMK Legislature Party.

The petitioner told the court that AIADMK entered the Legislative Assembly with 66 members after the 2021 elections. It was the second largest legislature party after the ruling DMK. On May 10, 2021, the AIADMK legislature party elected the petitioner as its leader and O. Panneerselvam (now expelled from primary membership of the party) as its deputy leader.

Former Minister S.P. Velumani was elected as the whip and S. Ravi as deputy whip. K.P. Anbalagan and P.H. Manoj Pandian (also expelled from the party subsequently) were elected as secretary and deputy secretary respectively of the AIADMK legislature party. However, on July 11, 2022, the AIADMK general council took certain major decisions.

The general council passed a special resolution expelling Mr. Panneerselvam who got elected from Bodinyakkanur constituency, former Minister R. Vaithilingam representing Orathanadu constituency and Mr Pandian representing Alankulam constituency from primary membership of AIADMK due to their anti-party activities.

Since then, all the three MLAs had become complete strangers to AIADMK and had no role or position in the party. On July 17, 2022, the AIADMK legislature party convened a meeting and elected Mr. Udhayakumar and Mr. Krishnamurthy to be the deputy leader of opposition and deputy secretary respectively.

The decision was communicated to the Assembly Speaker on July 19, 2022. It was followed up with reminders sent on October 11, 2022; October 14, 2022; October 18, 2022; September 21, 2023 and October 9, 2023. Yet, the Speaker did not respond to those communications and failed to change the seating arrangement in the Assembly hall, the petitioner complained.

Stating that the three expelled members were continuing to sit along with AIADMK MLAs in the Assembly and unnecessarily interfering in discussions privy to the principal opposition party, the petitioner said, his party was unable to function effectively in the House due to the reluctance of the Speaker to change the seating arrangement.

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