Tamil Nadu

Madras HC declares South Indian Artistes Association’s elections as null and void

An aerial view of the Madras High Court. File

An aerial view of the Madras High Court. File   | Photo Credit: K. Pichumani

High Court said that fresh elections should be held within three months. It also appointed Justice B. Gokuldas as election officer.

The Madras High Court on Friday declared as null and void the elections held to the South Indian Artistes Association, apex body of actors, in June last year and ordered fresh polls.

Justice K Kalyana Sundaram, who passed the order on various petitions filed on the matter, directed that elections to the posts of office-bearers of the association be conducted afresh within three months and appointed Justice B. Gokuldas as the election officer.

“In the ultimate analysis, this Court has no hesitation to hold that the decisions taken by the Executive Committee of the petitioner association in the meetings held after the expiry of their tenure i.e., on 18.10.2018 and the actions taken pursuant to the same are invalid in law and not binding on the members of the Association,” he said in the order.

He also said the Special Officer appointed by the government shall continue to discharge her duties till declaration of the results and the new office bearers assume office.

The court had earlier stayed counting of votes in view of alleged irregularities in postal ballots and that the announcement for the elections was issued after the tenure of the office-bearers ended.

The Tamil Nadu government had informed the court that the elections were invalid as they were not conducted in accordance with the by-laws of the association.

The Pandavar team members at the South Indian Film Artistes Association election in Chennai on June 23, 2019.

The Pandavar team members at the South Indian Film Artistes Association election in Chennai on June 23, 2019.   | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

The series of litigations started after the Registrar of Societies passed an order deferring the election to the association indefinitely in view of the allegations that name of 61 members were allegedly removed from the rolls just days before the election.

Challenging the order, actor Vishal, the general secretary of the association, moved the high court. After several rounds of hearings, the high court finally permitted the conduct of election on June 23 last year.

There were allegations that the State government was interfering in the affairs of the association by appointing a special officer to manage the affairs of the body.

The State government through its counsel submitted that the Registrar of Societies had every right to inquire into the complaints filed by members of the association and if needed to appoint special officers to monitor the affairs of the association.

The State further stated that as per by-laws of the association, there is no provision to extend the tenure of the existing office bearers and hence the election conducted by office bearers whose term were expired are invalid.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 5:13:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/madras-hc-declares-south-indian-artistes-associations-nadigar-sangam-elections-as-null-and-void/article30644966.ece

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