HC directs EPS to file counter on OPS’ plea against GC meeting

The judge passed these directions on hearing the petition of OPS and P Vairamuthu alias Amman Vairamuthu, a general council member of AIADMK.
Madras High Court
Madras High Court

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Thursday directed AIADMK’s joint coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami to file his counter on Friday to a suit filed by coordinator O Panneerselvam seeking directions to stall the AIADMK’s general council meeting scheduled on July 11.

“Are the coordinator and joint coordinator posts of AIADMK are vacant now? Can the headquarters office bearers call for a GC meeting? How many days before the notice regarding the GC meeting should be sent? Who is competent to sign the notice for convening the GC meeting? Who had signed the notice in the past when AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa was alive? The respondent shall file a counter answering the above questions with materials, ” Justice Krishnan Ramasamy noted.

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The judge passed these directions on hearing the petition of OPS and P Vairamuthu alias Amman Vairamuthu, a general council member of AIADMK.

The petitioners sought direction from the court to AIADMK to restrain EPS and others from conducting the general council meeting on July 11 claiming that the call for the meeting is illegal and contrary to the party bye-laws.

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When taking up the matter, the judge observed that while the Supreme Court had ordered that the July 11 GC meeting may go on, what is left for him to do with this matter.

Senior Advocate Guru Krishnakumar, appearing for Panneerselvam submitted that though the SC allowed convening the GC meeting, it has also stressed that it should be conducted in accordance with the law.

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“Since the call for conducting the GC meeting is against the party bye-laws and the SC granted liberty to us to approach the HC, we came here for a relief,” the senior counsel submitted.

He further argued that notice for conducting the GC meeting was sent in the name of headquarters office bearers and there are no signatures on that notice.

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“As per the party bye-laws, the coordinator and joint coordinator should call for a GC meeting. Therefore, the notice for the GC meeting is illegal,” the senior lawyer argued.

Responding to him, senior advocate S Vijay Narayan representing EPS submitted that since the June 23 GC meeting did not give ratification for the election conducted for the posts of coordinators and joint-coordinators, those positions are currently vacant.

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“The Supreme Court allowed us to convene the GC meeting on July 11. However, the petitioners had approached this court with an intention to stop the SC’s order. July 11 GC meeting is to discuss the creation of an interim general secretary position in the party. Currently, there is no coordinator and joint coordinator exist in the party,” the former AG submitted.

However, OPS’ counsel submitted that if the June 23 GC meeting did not ratify the election of coordinator and joint coordinator by rejecting all the 23 resolutions, it would also apply to all the posts appointed and elected in the party.

“One of the agenda was to ratify the elections held for the coordinator, joint coordinator, headquarter secretary, general council members, district, union, town, and village branch level office bearers. If it was rejected, all the posts should lie vacant now. AIADMK’s coordinator and joint coordinator posts elected on September 12, 2017, are valid for five years and there is no question about its expiry now,” the petitioner added.

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He further submitted that as per the amendment made in the AIADMK bye-laws in December 2021 joint coordinator and joint coordinator can be elected with a single vote.

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“The same was acknowledged by the Election Commission of India. The coordinator and joint coordinator are the only ones conferred with the powers to amend the bye-laws. Since the appointment of presidium chairman was made without the consent of the coordinator, he could not call for a GC meeting,” senior advocate Guru Krishnakumar argued.

Recording the submissions, the judge directed EPS to file his counter addressing various issues raised by the petitioners. The court adjourned the matter to Friday afternoon.

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