CHENNAI: “While the posts of coordinators and joint coordinators are abolished, how come the General Council (GC) members appointed by dual leadership alone could continue in position in the AIADMK,” the Madras High Court asked the counsels of former chief ministers Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) and O Panneerselvam (OPS).
Justice G Jayachandran raised this question on hearing the appeal filed by O Panneerselvam against the July 11 order of a single judge allowing EPS to conduct a general council meeting of AIADMK on the same day.
“I want to know only one thing: whether the GC meeting conducted on July 11 was held in accordance with the party bye-laws. If it was not in accordance with the bye-laws of AIADMK, this court shall consider the same and will pass the orders,” Justice G Jayachandran of Madras HC.
When the matter was taken for hearing, the judge made it clear to the senior counsels of OPS, EPS, and OPS' supporter Vairamuthu to simply make their arguments in a way to answer his question. The judge pointed out that has to pass the orders as per the time frame set by the Supreme Court.
Senior Counsel Guru Krishnakumar, representing OPS submitted that the July 11 meeting was held without the consent of the coordinator as it is mandatory as per Rule 20 and 43 of the bye-laws of AIADMK.
However, former AG S Vijay Narayan appearing for EPS informed that the general secretary post was abolished in a GC meeting held in September 2017.
“The rules and bye-laws of AIADMK were changed and the powers of GS were transferred to the coordinator and joint coordinator. Initially, the coordinators were elected only by the GC. However, an amendment was made in an Executive Committee (EC) meeting on December 1, 2021, to elect the coordinator and joint coordinator by party members with a single ticket,” the senior counsel submitted.
He further argued that the decision of the EC was not ratified by the GC members in a meeting held on June 23.
“Further, the interim presidium chairman for the meeting, announced that the next GC meeting will be conducted on July 11. Tamil Magan Hussain was appointed as the temporary presidium chairman with the consent of the appellant OPS and defendant EPS. Therefore, the July 11 meeting is a valid one,” senior lawyer Narayan noted.
EPS' advocates also noted that EPS was elected as the interim general secretary with the consent of 2,500 GC members and an election will be conducted in four months to elect the permanent general secretary.
However, OPS’ counsel Arvind Pandian countered that submissions saying that his client did not give any consent for the appointment of Tamil Magan Hussain. “Everyone had watched the June 23 meeting on TVs when our client walked out from the meeting. After he went away, the defendant had proposed the appointment,” the senior counsel Pandian argued.
EPS’ counsels submitted that about 2,500 GC members had signed an affidavit in favor of abolishing the coordinator and joint coordinators post and going back to the pre-2017 position by creating the general secretary post.
Intervening the senior lawyer, the judge questioned when the GC members were elected. “The GC members were appointed by the coordinator and joint coordinator. When abolishing those posts, how the GC members’ posts alone could be retained,” the judge asked.
Responding to the judge, Vijay Narayan submitted that as per the amended bye-laws, the decisions taken by the coordinator and joint coordinator will be valid despite their posts being abolished.
Senior advocate Arvind Pandian stated that the one and half crore members’ intention cannot be overturned merely by some 2000 people.
“If there is a problem with the coordinator and joint coordinator, re-election should be conducted immediately for those posts. However, a joint coordinator cannot abolish the posts,” Pandian submitted.
Recording either side's submissions, the judge posted the matter for further hearings on Thursday.