Madras High Court refuses to restrain AIADMK general council from amending bylaws

The judge says such issues should be left to the wisdom of members

June 22, 2022 10:12 pm | Updated June 23, 2022 01:36 am IST - CHENNAI

All set: Flex boards have come up at Vanagaram ahead of the meeting.

All set: Flex boards have come up at Vanagaram ahead of the meeting. | Photo Credit: M. Vedhan

The Madras High Court on Wednesday refused to restrain the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s general council from passing resolutions aimed at amending its bylaws to pave the way for a unitary leadership instead of the dual leadership in vogue now.

Justice Krishnan Ramasamy rejected a batch of applications for a restraint order against passing any such resolutions. He held that it was for the general council to decide upon its functioning and not for the court to dictate which resolution could be passed and which should not be passed.

“It is well settled that in matters related to internal issues of an association/political party, the courts normally do not interfere, leaving it open to the association/party and its members to pass resolutions and frame a particular bye-law, rule or regulation for better administration of the party. Any decision is well within the collective wisdom of the general council and this court cannot insist the members act in a particular manner,” the judge wrote.

The judge also agreed with senior counsel Vijay Narayan, representing party co-coordinator Edappadi K. Palaniswami, that though one general council member and three primary members of the party had approached the court, none of them had made out a prima facie case for grant of an interim injunction.

“In fact, the plaintiffs have come forward with the applications seeking interim directions based upon their apprehension that resolutions may be passed in respect of amendment of the Rules and Regulations of the party. This court cannot presume what would take place during the general council meet on June 23, 2022, and issue interim orders/directions in advance,” the judge added.

Earlier, counsel for the applicants had contended that no agenda for the general council meeting had been circulated but feared that the party's constitution could be amended to provide for unitary leadership.

Senior Counsel P.H. Arvindh Pandian, representing party coordinator O. Panneerselvam, argued that he would not allow any other resolution, but 23 draft resolutions that had been prepared in respect of the regular activities of the party, to be passed at the general council meeting scheduled at Vanagaram near Chennai for Thursday.

He argued that any resolution should emanate jointly from the coordinator as well as the co-coordinator and then get ratified by the general council. "This has been the practice since the days of the party's founder, M.G. Ramachandran, and also during the stint of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. The party holds a distinction of no resolution proposed by the party high command having ever been defeated in the general council," he said.

However, Mr. Narayan told the court that the party never had the practice of circulating an agenda before the general council meeting. He said any proposal to amend the bylaws could emanate on the floor of the general council and it would get passed if a majority of the members were in favour of it.

"Whether that will happen tomorrow is entirely in the realm of speculation. It may happen or it may not happen," he told the judge and said the court could not pass an interim order when there was no certainty over what might happen tomorrow.

After the pronouncement of the verdict, the party’s general council member M. Shunmugum filed an appeal challenging the single judge’s order and a Division Bench of Justices M. Duraiswamy and Sunder Mohan decided to hear the matter at around 12:30 am at the residence of the senior judge in the Bench.

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