AIADMK GC: OPS suffers further setback as Madras HC dismisses plea

Today's court ruling was yet another setback for OPS, as Panneerselvam is addressed, as he has been mounting a legal battle since last year against the general council resolutions.
Last Updated : 25 August 2023, 15:34 IST

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In a further setback to deposed AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam, the Madras High Court on Friday dismissed his appeals against the July 2022 general council meet of the party, which among others had elected his rival Edappadi K Palaniswami as interim chief, besides expelling OPS and his aides.

Palaniswami, since elected as the party's General Secretary, hailed the court verdict as one given for 'justice, dharma and truth'. Party workers celebrated the court ruling by bursting crackers and distributing sweets.

Today's court ruling was yet another setback for OPS, as Panneerselvam is addressed, as he has been mounting a legal battle since last year against the general council resolutions.

In September last year, a division bench of the Madras High Court had quashed an earlier single judge order, which ordered maintenance of status-quo ante as of June 23 regarding the party affairs.

Previously, Panneerselvam was the Coordinator and Palaniswami the Joint Coordinator and that directive was for maintenance of the then existing dual power structure.

The order had established Palaniswami's position as the single, supreme leader of the AIADMK then.

Days later, the Supreme Court had dismissed OPS's plea against the Madras High Court order directing him to hand over the keys of the party headquarters to Palaniswami.

Further, on March 28, a single judge had rejected the pleas filed by OPS and his aides against the party's July 11 general council resolutions.

Justice K Kumaresh Babu had said the AIADMK's July 11, 2022 general council resolutions relating to expulsion of Panneerselvam and appointing Palaniswami as the then interim chief were prima facie valid.

On Friday, a division bench comprising Justices R Mahadevan and Mohamed Shafiq refused to interfere with the expulsion of Panneerselvam from the party.

The bench dismissed the appeals filed by Panneerselvam and his aides R Vaithilingam, Paul Manoj Pandian and J C D Prabhakar challenging the March 28 order of the single judge, where the court refused to interfere with the July, 2022 resolutions passed by the AIADMK general council.

"In our opinion, no prima facie case for grant of injunction has been made out by the appellants in respect of the Special Resolution expelling them from the primary membership of the party and hence, the question of balance of convenience tested on the anvil of irreparable injury need not be gone into," the bench said.

On the issue as to the conduct of the election for the post of general secretary, it must be stated that this issue is also based on the previous premise of the order passed by the Supreme Court holding as valid the meeting held on July 11, 2022, the court said.

"Any injunction with respect to the validity of these resolutions would mean that a pre-11.07.2022 situation would have to be put in place and this would also mean that till the suit is completed, the party would face a situation of being without leadership as there would be no general secretary which also cannot be permitted."

'Further, this would mean that the party would have to be run under the Joint leadership of the Co-ordinator and Joint Co-ordinator which was not practically working out, and which led to the change in scenario. That apart, when the meeting dated 11.07.2022 was convened and has now received the stamp of approval of the Apex Court, the resolutions adopted therein, most importantly relating to electing the General Secretary on the lines of restoring single leadership of the party, as has been the apparent majority wish, cannot be scuttled, before trial," the bench added.

The general council is the AIADMK's highest decision-making body. Palaniswami was subsequently elected general secretary, the party's top post on March 28, 2023 soon after the single judge order was pronounced.

Responding to the division bench verdict given today, Palaniswami said 'justice was on our side', and therefore the favourable ruling.

"This is a verdict for justice, dharma and truth," he told reporters.

AIADMK advocate I S Inbadurai said the HC bench had dismissed the plea by OPS and others, where they had contended that the AIADMK general council resolutions are invalid.

The bench 'has confirmed that the AIADMK is functioning under the leadership' of Palaniswami, he said.

"Also, the court has accepted that the GC is the higher body and its decisions are final,' vis-a-vis the party affairs, he added.

The AIADMK is the principal opposition party in Tamil Nadu with Palaniswami currently the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly.

Published 25 August 2023, 15:34 IST

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